NetEnt and Evolution Gaming shareholders and investors were recently overjoyed to receive approval for the proposed acquisition deal. Yet as shoulders were clapped, and billions of Euros began changing hands the General Workers Union Malta (GWU) was busy preparing an industrial dispute harshly criticising the companies planned redundancies.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
The GWU cut to the chase, accusing both NetEnt and Evolution Gaming of prioritising profits and easy of execution over the lives of this being affected by their decisions.
While the companies are not willing to commit to a final figure the estimates place projected redundancies in excess of 300 employees, nearly one third of NetEnt’s total staff compliment.
The industrial dispute action they are bringing against the companies is based on three core allegations:
- The Companies’ failure to acknowledge the GWU as an employee representative for the purpose of collective redundancies under the Collective Redundancies (Protection of Employment) Regulations.
- The Companies’ refusal to provide the union with a statement in writing giving all relevant information, with the reasons for the redundancies, the number of employees the company intends to make redundant, the number of employees normally employed by it, the criteria proposed for the selection of the employees to be made redundant, details regarding any redundancy payments which are due and the period over which redundancies are to be affected.
- The Companies’ wholesale breach of the Collective Redundancies (Protection of Employment) Regulations and the Transfer of Business (Protection of Employment) Regulations.
While redundancies are not uncommon in these types of ventures the scale of the layoffs and the apparent unwillingness of the companies to try to minimise them has opened them up to legal action under the laws of Malta.
And Nero Fiddled…
While it is easy to retreat behind business reasoning and impact studies when faced with news like this, there is always space to be considerate of those who built your success.
According to The Times of Malta, Evolution Gaming management showed little care for the more than 300 Qormi studio employees they had just made redundant.
One employee recounts her experience of being escorted out by security as the management team toasted with champagne, she said:
“As Evolution began celebrating in our faces and eating pizza, I had to go home and face my children, call the bank and plan what I was to do next.”
Thankfully the GWU is fighting to ensure that these once-loyal workers receive fair compensation.
A Friend In Need
One thing 2020 has proven time and again is that when the chips are down there will be those who stand up for people in need. In light of the news of the layoffs support has come flooding in from several sectors:
- The Gaming Malta foundation has begun looking into placing those made redundant with other iGaming operators
- The Economy Ministry has begun opening talks with various sectors and entities to see where the skills of the newly unemployed could be transferred effectively
- Government-run placement organisation, JobsPlus, set up a helpline dedicated to matching iGaming job seekers with available positions
With such a concerted effort by the local iGaming business community and government departments, many are hopeful that the holidays will in fact be a time of celebration.