SkyCity Casino Hit By Strike ActionTisha Walden | 16 Sep 2019
SkyCity Casino is one of New Zealand’s premier gambling venues, known for providing excellent service to customers, a huge range of pokies and top class table games, and a whole lot more. But now the establishment is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, finding itself at the heart of the biggest strike in the history of the country. Disgruntled employees have been walking out in droves, posing a serious risk to the sustained, short-term future of the venue.
According to local media outlets, the employees have rebelled against what they call unacceptable working conditions. As many as 900 staff members have officially packed up and refused to work, leaving management scrambling for solutions.
But the angry employees aren’t backing down, with many insisting that management has been ignoring requests to engage in negotiations for over two years.
Poor Working Conditions
More specifically, it is the weekend schedules that have SkyCity casino personnel hot under the collar. Reports say that many employment positions require staff to work not only over weekends, but also long night shifts. The night shifts sometimes only end only when the sun rises, making weekends schedules extremely difficult. Furthermore, the striking workers claim that efforts to arrange better schedules were met by hostility, with management unwilling to consider any complaints.
The Unite Union has now moved in to try and arrange some sort of dialogue with the casino management. The view of the Union is that compromises could be found, with higher pay for weekend work being a reasonable solution. But the Union says that SkyCity has been frustrating with their responses, refusing to even humour efforts to reach a reasonable middle ground.
A Clash Of Negotiation Terms
Gerard Hehir, spokesman for Unite Union, expressed his annoyance in a statement. He revealed that the casino has been unwilling to discuss extra incentives for required weekend shifts. It is the primary issue that needs addressing, Hehir emphasised, yet he insists that the casino will not even offer a response.
On the other hand SkyCity has presented a solution that they found acceptable; a 6% to 25% raise over the next two years. This offer was rejected outright by 94% of the striking employees.
So it seems that negotiations still have a long way to go. Meanwhile the venue doors have remained open, with part-time replacements being brought in to cover empty positions. Hehir has said that this solution is not sustainable, and that more reasonable offers will need to be presented before the doors are forced to shut entirely.
The whole of New Zealand has started to pay attention as the drama continues to unfold. How the situation concludes will be a landmark event in the country.