An overwhelming majority of SkyCity Casino workers in Auckland has voted to start strike action against their employer to make the company pay them compensations for working unsociable hours. According to the claims of the employees, it is exactly the night and weekend hours of operation which help the gambling firm generate its major profits.
Currently, the Unite Union is the organisation which protects the interests of almost 900 of SkyCity Casino’s workers. Reportedly, 94% of these employees voted to reject the previous offer which the company had made and 97% voted in favour of strike action. The strike is set to begin at 5:00 PM on August 31st and continue until the morning of September 1st.
The Unite Union has called for penalty rates for SkyCity Casino workers’ night and weekend shifts in order for the operator to encourage its staff members who are willing and able to work then. According to the workers’ union, this move would also allow others some choice regarding their work hours.
As revealed by Unite Union which organises the strike, the workers’ campaign is called “Back to the Weekend” and is focused on the rights of casino employees to choose not to work over the weekend. Gerard Hehir, the national secretary of the workers’ union has explained that the basic problem is that the casino gambling operator needed most of its workers available for night and weekend shifts, as it generates most of its income during that time, but the company does not encourage its employees taking such shifts.
The Union also revealed that most low-paid workers are forced to take rotating hour shifts which do not take into account their personal or family situation. Apart from that, such workers are not given extra money for working during the night or over the weekend.
Unite Union Pushes for Better Working Conditions of Its Members
Now, the workers’ union is trying to improve the payments received by employees for working at nights and weekends – a move which in their opinion would “reward and encourage” such staff members.
SkyCity Casino revealed that it had been negotiating with Unite Union to make an agreement on the terms and conditions of a new collective employment contract. The gambling operator also explained that the proposed agreements included a wage increase of between 6% and 25% over the following two years. It confirmed that it was willing to provide its workers with fair opportunities and intended to work in collaboration with the Unite Union and its staff to find a resolution.
Some new terms of the collective employment agreements have also been offered by the Union but SkyCity Casino has so far fully rejected them. Currently, the company has approximately 1,000 people working at its Adelaide casino. Reportedly, many of these employees get time and a half, double time and on some occasions even triple time for working unsociable hours. Now, New Zealand employees in Auckland want the same for themselves, especially considering the fact that Unite Union claims SkyCity generated profit exceeding NZ$144 million only last week.