Turning Tables: NetEnt Employees Seek Lawsuit After Malta Redundancies
Last week, we reported on NetEnt’s decision to make “several hundred” workers redundant in its Malta offices and studios after it was acquired by live casino giant Evolution earlier this year.
This week, there’s a new twist to the tale. The Times of Malta is now reporting that several hundred workers have teamed up with The General Workers’ Union (or GWU) to declare an industrial dispute over the matter.
For those who aren’t aware, trade unions have a much bigger influence in Europe, where Malta is, than in the US. The GWU’s involvement in this dispute could potentially be a costly spanner in the works for NetEnt and its new owners.
The official dispute documentation from the GWU says that neither Evolution nor NetEnt provided adequate information to it (as a lawful representative of their members) or the employees themselves during the redundancy process.
We noted several times in our coverage last week that Evolution had, at that time, yet to make an official statement on the matter. Even the statements from NetEnt came via news outlets rather than a direct statement.
When making a round of layoffs shortly before Christmas and during a global pandemic no less the least an employee might expect is direct communication.
At NetEnt’s Qormi studio in Malta, where around 300 live casino dealers and others were laid off, some newly-hired staff members were reportedly still being trained just two days before the whole studio closed.
One anonymous employee told the Times of Malta that some workers had even arrived from abroad to start their training on the day that everyone was laid off.
“It was very emotional, people were crying and shouting when they heard the news. Like others, I have a family I need to take care of, and my mind went through the ways I was going to tell my children that I had no job,”newly-hired NetEnt staff member
She went on to describe several incoming Evolution staff members “popping champagne” in a celebratory mood, even as the previous crew was being escorted out by security.
Evolution’s CEO Martin Carlesund was not happy with the claims in Maltese media.
In a passionate email to NetEnt and Red Tiger staff (leaked to some media outlets), he denied that Evolution representatives were “celebrating”.
He also insisted that “NetEnt and Evolution representatives spent the whole day and evening at the Qormi studios informing employees on the situation and answering concerns.”
Reports on the ground suggest otherwise, but whatever the truth is, it is clear that both companies could have done more to inform employees of potential layoffs going back weeks or even months.
As we mentioned in last week’s article, many in the industry could have told you that jobs were going to be cut at NetEnt’s Malta operations after the Evolution deal.
Since that is the case, why did the company continue to bring in new employees to its Malta offices and studio? So much so, in fact, that it announced an expansion to the facility in September.
And now, just three months later, it’s permanently closed.
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