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Argentina – Protests over job losses in Codere bingo halls

By - 5 November 2015

Restaurants workers from Bingo La Plata, as well as workers from another eight bingo halls in the province of Buenos Aires, have staged a protest outside the Government House of the Province of Buenos Aires to protest the possible redundancies of 800 workers.

According to union leaders, Spanish multinational Codere plans to close a total of nine restaurants located in Buenos Aires bingo halls in order to make room for more gaming space – a move which could they say could lead to 500 workers losing their jobs. In addition, according to union members, the company plans to reduce about 800 positions in all: 500 from catering positions and 300 additional jobs such as cashiers and other bingo staff.

During the mobilisation union members submitted a petition to Governor Daniel Scioli, asking him to intercede on their behalf. In 2012 Scioli issued licence fees for Codere bingo halls in order to find emergency funding to pay bonuses for state workers which enabled the provincial Treasury to raise around US$328m extra. This has led to claims from unions that the company has been given free rein to ignore local gambling laws which state that operators must put in place an eight hour working shift for each slot machine on site.

“As of November 1 they will put in more machines and they will close the restaurant. They will make voluntary retirements and they will fire the others. A lot of people are going to be out of work,” said an unnamed union member in an interview with local press. “There is a relation between the number of employees and the number of machines and they are not meeting this requirement,” he said.

Codere is the market leader in Buenos Aires province home to 15.6m people. Currently, the company runs a total of fourteen bingo halls, 6, 500 slot machines and employs over 4,000 people in the province.
Codere reported a 25 per cent increase in revenue for the second quarter of 2015. GGR came in at €409m for the three months through to the end of June with the group’s international revenues improving significantly. Argentina, Panama and Mexico faired particularly well with the stronger dollar and Latin American currencies against the euro for the latest results. The increase was due to the appreciation of the Argentine peso against the euro, and an increase in the number of machines and their average daily collection.

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