Close to 7,000 employees of the gaming industry will be placed on the breadline if government moves ahead with its plan to present a bill in parliament on Friday to phase out slot machines.
Addressing a news conference hosted by the Union of Members Club and Lottery Workers (UMCLW) at the NUGFW headquarters at Henry Street, Port of Spain, yesterday, member Cindy Gibbs said slot machines make up 75 per cent of the gaming industry.
Demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Patrick Manning to discuss the issue, Gibbs said previous meetings with ministers Fitzgerald Hinds and Conrad Enill had been unsatisfactory, and had left many questions unanswered.
Sounding a warning to Manning that the same 7,000 people he was prepared to make jobless had contributed to the electoral votes in the last general election, Gibbs accused government of acting in bad faith and leaving many promises unfulfilled.
Echoing Gibbs‘ statements, member Alicia Wellington said politicians such as Hinds and Enill were operating on their own agenda, and were unwilling to deal with issues affecting the people.
Claiming that this latest information to phase out slot machines was a direct threat to the livelihoods of all employed in the gaming industry, President of the UMCLW, Andy Creece, said the union was prepared to do whatever is necessary to save the jobs of the 7,000 employees.
Stating that 80 per cent of the employees of the industry were single mothers who have gone on to become successful and independent, Creece said these jobs had provided a second opportunity for them that they may have not gotten anywhere else.