SkyCity Employees Walk Out Over Working Conditions

Employees at the Auckland, New Zealand SkyCity Casino are disgruntled, becoming more and more upset about working circumstances and the only way they can show their dissatisfaction–by walking off the job.

A continuous rise of employees have been protesting the absence of worker assistance from SkyCity and now the casino finds itself in the headlines for all the incorrect reasons. With the ongoing exodus, SkyCity is making history the focus of what has been described as the largest strike of migrant workers in the history of New Zealand.

Workers are angry for a multitude of reasons, including the conditions presented to them when working overnight and weekends. It has been reported that as many as 900 staff have refused to work the night shifts, placing SkyCity in an incredibly volatile situation, according to New Zealand news outlet Newshub. Apparently, the casino has ignored demands to better accommodate staff during those shifts and is not prepared to appease those who help keep the casino afloat.

The Unite Union, which tried to protect the staff, is disappointed with the reaction from SkyCity after it had pushed for some rewards, including greater pay for weekend and night shifts, but the brass from SkyCity is not prepared to concede.

Gerard Hehir, the national secretary of Unite Union, asserts, “[SkyCity] 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.”

Apparently SkyCity was trying to create an offer last week and had proposed a pay increase varying from 6% to 25% over the next two years, which wasdismissed by 94% of the staff union who want an additional incentive for the weekend and night shifts.

SkyCity reportedly started using temporary and part-time employees to fill the voids, a move the union says can not be retained.

A spokesperson for Unite Union, Joe Carolan, explains, “Sooner or later all of the casuals and part-timers that they’ll try to roster on will get tired.”

In many sectors around the globe, a bonus in the paycheck offsets weekend and night jobs and with the $92.59 million in profit produced last year by the casino, offering incentives to its staff should be a little flexible.