Following an appeal by the General Employees’ Union Malta, NetEnt has been served with an injunction prohibiting the operator from implementing mass redundancies.
The GWU, representing the majority of NetEnt workers in Malta, filed an application before Malta’s Superior Courts where it requested an injunction to prevent the £1.83 billion worth business from carrying out any form of redundancy or termination any jobs.
A GWU representative reported that after its urgent request, 324 unlawful redundancies were placed on hold thanks to the intervention of the court. The representative further stated that the union will continue to insist that NetEnt and Evolution Gaming fully honour their consultation obligations. The representative also stressed that the union will do whatever it can to ensure that jobs are saved, and, where that is not possible, that appropriate compensation is paid.
The GWU went on to explain that NetEnt had failed to notify and consult employees according to European and local laws that protect employees in a collective redundancy scenario. The court also charged the operator along with its new owner, Evolution Gaming with a wholesale break of EU transfer and undertaking rules.
The GWU also pointed out and criticized the anti-union tactics of NetEnt and Evolution. The union explained that the actions taken by the joint organisation were meant to prevent effective staff consultation at a critical moment when they are facing potential redundancies days before Christmas. The union further went on to explain that in its appeal to the court, it argued that the company had arranged a termination agreement with an employee representative who was dismissive of the employees’ pleas and was directly appointed by the company itself, which in itself, is a breach in governing information and consultation obligations.
NetEnt declined to meet with the GWU, which now comprises the bulk of NetEnt’s local workers.
The court has scheduled a specially appointed hearing on December 17.
This news follows NetEnt and Evolution Gaming’s recent merger. Evolution Gaming offered to buy NetEnt in June in a bid to expand its market reach across regulated European markets and as well as in the USA where both providers are seeking to further expand their market penetration and reach. Evolution Gaming offered to purchase NetEnt for SEK19.6 billion (£1.69/ $2.16 billion). This purchase will not only include NetEnt but also its Red Tiger Gaming as NetEnt acquired the Red Tiger late last 2919. Once completed, this merger will create a B2B igaming solutions powerhouse.
The merger came without hiccups as the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a regulating body responsible for strengthening and maintaining business competition throughout the UK, has instigated an inquiry into the merger of two igaming content and solutions providers.
The goal of the regulator’s inquiry is to determine the impact of this mega-deal in the local gambling space. This should not come as a surprise as both companies are heavily ingrained in the UK online casino and land-based markets.