The General Workers’ Union said on Sunday it had declared an industrial dispute with gaming companies NetEnt and Evolution Gaming Group for breach of the law on collective redundancies. The former last week started to lay off hundreds of workers as it was acquired by the latter. 

The GWU said the two companies had failed to acknowledge it as an employee representative for the purpose of collective redundancies under the Collective Redundancies (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

It said the companies had refused to provide a statement with the reasons for the redundancies, the number of employees being made redundant, the number of employees normally employed, the criteria 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 effected.

The union said the companies are reportedly planning to lay off over 300 employees, with no effort being made to avoid redundancies.

It reserved the right to take industrial action.

A spokesman for Evolution Gaming told Times of Malta last week that the Qormi-based studio of NetEnt would be shut down and  “the people working directly with this product are at risk of redundancy.”  

Just three months ago, NetEnt had announced it was expanding its studio with new blackjack tables, thanks to heightened demand.

However, industry sources said some redundancies had long been expected as part of the takeover. Evolution Gaming submitted its all-share bid to acquire NetEnt in June, valuing the company at around €2billion.

NetEnt employees also described how they were escorted by security officials to pack up their belongings as representatives from the company’s new owner drank champagne and ate pizza.

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