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Argentina – Buenos Aires hit by strikes after attack on union member

By - 26 February 2014

Casinos located in Buenos Aires province have been hit by an all strike after a union member was suspended by the Institute of Lotteries and Casinos of Buenos Aires Province.

The member, who belongs to one of the largest casino workers unions in the province: the Association of Management and Maintenance Services for Casino (AMS), is accused of an assault which took place in the Casino Central located in the popular tourist resort of Mar del Plata.

However, leaders of the AMS said that he was in fact acting in self-defence and described the decision as “unjust and incomprehensible.” Arguing that it was the result of an attack by a gang made up of members opposed to the current leadership the union stated to press that the suspended worker had been “beaten brutally” by opposition members.

According to a press release: “Several companions were attacked . . . but the person who was suspended lost two teeth as well as a disfigured face . . . Faced with this fact significantly the Institute of Lotteries and Casinos made the decision to suspend our assaulted comrade so we have put in place a work stoppage which will affect all casinos in the Buenos Aires Province.”

The strike points to significant tensions within the union as the attack occurred just weeks after Roberto Paez was elected to his new post as General Secretary of the AMS. In addition the attack was made on as yet unnamed member of the union’s executive committee by three employees working in the Central Casino.

Unions in the province of Buenos Aires have significant sway and are currently looking to change the way casinos are operated and run. In April 2013 the AMS began to urge the government to put 12 casinos under state control. Combined these casinos house 3,863 slot machines. The AMS argues that the state should reap the benefits of gaming in the province home to 15.6m people.

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