SkyCity Casino in Auckland is going through a very difficult period. For several weeks now, the casino has been dealing with employees walking away in protest, showing their dissatisfaction with working conditions and the operator’s lack of support.
SkyCity Casino recently launched an online gambling site to expand its business to the virtual arena as well but because of the strikes, they’ve been getting the wrong kind of publicity. The media have been describing the situation as the largest migrant workers strike New Zealand has ever seen in its history.
A Stalemate Position
According to reports, casino workers are complaining about many things but their grievances are primarily directed towards living conditions they have to cope with when working weekends and overnight shifts. Close to a thousand employees have reportedly refused to work nights, putting SkyCity Casino in a very tough position.
However, it seems that the casino isn’t willing to budge just yet. Company officials are still refusing to improve the conditions for those working nights and they aren’t showing willingness to accommodate those who play an essential role in keeping the venue’s door open.
Some of the requests put forth by the Unite Union include better pay for night shifts and weekends and this is one of the things workers are really adamant about. However, main casino heads aren’t showing any willingness to discuss the topic and so far they provided no offer whatsoever that would include an increase in wages.
The Union claims that the casino was only willing to discuss rostering but this is something that’s been discussed for a couple of years now and it just can’t help solve the problem. They believe the only real approach that would lead to a solution is the one that includes a fair increase in pay.
Casino’s Offers Rejected as not Good Enough?
Voices from SkyCity Casino claim offers were made and they were willing to discuss the situation at hand but they were rejected. According to the casino, they presented the idea of an increase starting at 6% and moving to 25% over the next two years. It seems that a large majority of employees, more than 90% of them, weren’t happy with this offer, though.
To battle the crisis, SkyCity has been using part-time and interim employees. Union representatives believe that this approach won’t last long and won’t solve the problem, though, as new employees will eventually get tired as well and the venue will find itself in the same position like the one they’re facing right now.
Paying extra for the work done overnight and during weekends isn’t at all uncommon and many companies are happy to cover these costs. With the profit in excess of $92 million in the last year alone, it feels like the casino could and should have a bit more flexibility in the matter. If they continue to play hardball, though, and refuse to meet their employees’ requests, it could create substantial financial losses caused by the lack of properly trained workforce.