Yet Another SkyCity Workers Strike

SkyCity workers embarked on yet another strike last weekend. This is the second strike by almost 900 employees at the casino in as many weeks. It is also considered the largest migrant strike in New Zealand history as the workers refused to work overnight over a pay rate debacle. According to Gerard Hehir, who’s the Unite Union’s national secretary, the workers are seeking better pay rates for weekends and night work, but the negotiations with the casino group have made no progress. Read on for more.

SkyCity Workers Strike for Better Pay Rates Again

SkyCity Workers Strike for Better Weekends & Night Pay Rates

From 10 pm on Saturday night until 8 am Monday morning, around 900 SkyCity workers, who also form part of the Unite Union, went tools down as part of their “Back to the Weekend” campaign. According to the union, the protest is deliberately aimed at disrupting weekend and nightshifts (which are also the resorts’ peak times) which the union says unfairly disrupt the lives of its members.

Hehir told local media that: “the basic problem is that SkyCity needs most of its workers at weekends and nights and makes most of its income during that time, but prefers to use the ‘stick’ rather than the ‘carrot’ to get staff at these times”.

No-one disputes that there have to be shifts at weekends and nights. The issue is SkyCity should be encouraging staff who can choose to work those shifts – recognizing that not all hours are equal,” Herir added.

SkyCity Goes AWOL

Joe Carolan, who’s the union spokesperson stated that SkyCity would not be addressing the protests. And, according to reliable sources, the casino group which has around 2 000 employees, has not offered to discuss any pay rate increases but rostering. “The company [suggested] union workers wouldn’t have to work weekends. But we don’t want to do that – we want rights for everybody,” expressed Herir, who was disappointed by the casino’s approach.

“They simply had no offer at all for increasing rates at weekends and nights. We signalled clearly that this was the issue we needed to negotiate on and have repeatedly offered since then to discuss different options – with no movement at all from SkyCity.

The only offer was to discuss rosters – but we have been doing that for two years already, and it simply cannot solve the problem on its own. Higher rates for weekends and nights work. They work in for many large 24/7 workplaces in New Zealand and they work for SkyCity itself in their Australian casino,” added Herir.

Since the previous strike, 50 staff have reportedly signed up to the union and 94% of the union members have agreed to reject SkyCity’s latest offer.

In 2018, SkyCity reported a profit of $144 million (NZ$224 million).

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