Sacked Casino du Liban employees will receive 60 months in wages and full medical benefits until they reach retirement age, while the treatment of those with serious ailments will be financed for the rest of their lives, a mid-level manager at the gambling establishment told The Daily Star Tuesday.
The offer ended a weeklong standoff between the management and the unions late Monday, paving the way for the reopening of the casino.
“Both sides [the management and the unions] have approved several suggestions and conditions to end the strike at the casino, and one of the main conditions was to raise the compensation packages for the employees who will be dismissed from work,” Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi said Tuesday after holding talks with the chairman of the casino and representatives of the unions.
Azzi added that the casino’s management would fully guarantee the medical benefits of the sacked staff until they reach the retirement age, and would cover the medical bills of those who have incurable diseases for the rest of their lives.
Originally, the casino offered $11 million in compensation for all the sacked employees, but those packages were rejected by the unions.
The casino’s management claims that a large number of the employees have been appointed for their political affiliation and many of them do not even report to work. They say the nonproductive employees cut into the casino’s revenues.
However, the main Christian political parties such as the Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanese Forces accuse the current chairman Hamid Kreidie of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds and also of hiring people close to him.
Some news media reported that Intra Investment Company, which controls 48 percent of the casino, had revised the ceiling of the compensations and agreed to review the list of the sacked employees in a bid contain the crisis and the pressure from different political circles.
The one-week closure of Casino du Liban has caused a loss of revenue of over $500,000 every day, sources close to the management said.
Azzi said that Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, the casino’s management, unions and officials played a big role in ending the crisis.
But Kreidie suggested that the problems at the casino still need to be addressed, despite the settlement with the employees.
“I would like to thank all concerned parties who helped end the standoff, including the Maronite patriarch. We hope that the other bigger problems of the casino will solved soon,” he said.
According to the contract, over 60 percent of Casino du Liban’s gross revenues go to the Treasury along with a 15 percent tax on the profits.