After four months of negotiations for a better terms and conditions of labor agreement, around 3600 workers of the Crown Melbourne casino might reportedly resort to a protected strike action during the busiest spring racing season unless they get a better deal on wages and working conditions from the company.
As reported by Australian Associated Press (AAP), the decision to strike has recently been agreed by the union members who approved the protected action implementation by majority votes. Workers are reportedly demanding a fair increase in wages, as well as overtime and public holiday work to be paid for them to be able to balance work and private life and be eligible for performance-based bonuses. As they haven’t reached an agreement with the employer after four months of negotiations, thousands of Crown Melbourne workers seem ready for a strike during the spring racing calendar.
As reported by AAP, the employer is now disputing the number of workers permitted to strike, but the United Workers Union said that all union members are authorized to strike, which means that 3600 workers may get involved in the union’s announced action. Crown responded accordingly to revise the initial claim that only 1700 workers are allowed to take protected action to get to the number of 3100 workers eligible for the action.
Requesting Living Costs Coverage:
As the negotiations between union members and employer continue, the employees reportedly request being treated with dignity and respect in the circumstances of the increased living costs. As reported, Deb Lipscombe, a Crown employee for 28 years, said: “It shouldn’t cost me to go to work – with household bills going up, putting petrol in the car to get to work, paying for parking when I arrive. We take care of the patrons and they expect us to do it for crumbs whilst they profit off of us.”
The company is currently expecting a large profit from the $2 million Victoria Derby Day scheduled for November 4 as a major spring racing event in Australia, according to AAP. But the event is also the date set for the strike of the Crown Melbourne staff to run to November 6 ahead of the Melbourne Cup. The source reports that the work will be stopped over hours between 6pm and 10pm on November 4, 10am to 2pm on November 5 and 6pm to 10pm on November 6, 2023.
Awaiting an Acceptable Offer:
The union’s casinos director Dario Mujkic reportedly said that the casino generated over $1.4 billion in revenue in the financial year ending on June 30, 2023. On the other hand, Crown Melbourne reported a $199 million net loss for the financial year 2022/2023, according to AAP. However, the workers claim lost revenues due to higher living costs and request a fairer settlement with the employer. Mujkic reportedly said: “Crown has so far not come to the table with an offer that keeps up with the cost of living. By voting to take action right at the start of the spring racing carnival this weekend, casino workers are telling Crown they’re serious about getting a fair deal.”
AAP reports that Crown chief executive Mike Volkert insisted that patrons would not be impacted. Volkert reportedly said: “Crown Melbourne has put contingencies in place to minimize impact on our operations and guest experience. We have a long history of bargaining in good faith and will continue to do so in the hopes of reaching an agreement soon.”