Dutch casino reaches new labour with unions

By Noah Taylor Updated
Dutch online betting legalisation to receive dozens of applications 

A European casino and its trade union have reached a new collective labour agreement.

Gambling Insider reports that Holland Casino has reached a deal with trade unions De Unie and FNV from January 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022 that will see a structural wage increase of 1.5 per cent from October 1.

A one-off payment of 0.75 per cent will also take place in March 2022.

There were equally positive talks regarding pensions, including an insured partner’s pension on a risk basis.

A working group will be set up with the unions in a bid to cooperate more effectively on further improvements, in areas such as scheduling and sustainable employment.

“Holland Casino is hit hard by the coronavirus crisis,” said Danielle Justus, director of Human Resources at Holland Casino said.

“These were intensive but constructive conversations in which all parties took joint responsibility for the future of Holland Casino and its employees in these extremely uncertain and difficult times.

“Apart from the collective labour agreement, we have also succeeded in reaching agreements with each other on both a form of voluntary severance scheme and a placement scheme.

“Both schemes are important in the context of our necessary restructuring and will certainly contribute to fewer forced redundancies.”

Both De Unie and FNV will now recommend acceptance to their members for the new agreement. 

Dutch casino closures dent bottom line 

Casinos in Europe are grappling with pending changes, as the coronavirus pandemic worsens in the continent.

Calvin Ayre reported in September that Dutch gambling venues have been hit with new restrictions on their hours of operation, while London casinos are trying to fend off fresh curfews.

The Netherlands’ Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport issued a release last Friday, stating that new regional measures to control the spread of coronavirus would be implemented.

The restrictions, which took effect at 6pm on Sunday, require all venues with catering licences to stop accepting guests after midnight and all guests must leave venues by 1am.

The new rules apply to six venues in geographic regions currently facing “the sharpest increase in coronavirus infections”.

These regions are Amsterdam-Amstelland, Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Haaglanden, Utrecht, Kennemerland and Hollands Midden, which contain most of the country’s major cities, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague.

The news is a bitter blow for the state-run Holland Casino, which just last week was celebrating plans to extend operating hours at some venues from 3am to 4am.

The rationale behind this change was that staying open longer allowed the venues to accept more guests under existing COVID-19 restraints, which limit the number of guests allowed inside at any one time to 30 per cent of normal capacity.

Holland Casino was forced to close all 14 venues on March 13 due to the pandemic and only received permission to reopen on July 1.

In August, the company noted its first half sales had fallen 58.7 per cent year-on-year, resulting in a 28.3 million euro loss for the six months ending June 30.

Prior to the shutdown, Holland Casino had been enjoying a 7 per cent revenue rise thanks to a near four per cent rise in customer visitation and more than three per cent increase in customer spend.

Chief financial officer Ruud Bergervoet said this, along with government support, gave the company sufficient liquidity to sustain it through the closure.

Chief executive Erwin van Lambaart said in August that the outlook for the rest of 2020 was “not exactly rosy and for next year extremely uncertain.”

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