The thousands of workers employed by Crown Melbourne, Victoria's biggest single-site employer, have threatened major protests as they feel that their demands for increased wages are not been met.
The 5,500 workers turned down a 2.75% pay rise offer by Crown management, and are pressurizing the casino group for a 5% a year increase. In addition, they are requesting new allowances of up to $3 an hour for weekend or “graveyard” shifts. The workers say that they need extra pay to justify the fact that they work multiple weekends a year and regularly miss out on family holidays and celebrations.
“Most Crown Melbourne staff work at least 40 or more weekends per year and say this means they routinely miss out on birthdays, weddings and children's milestones; even simple catch-ups with friends are often impossible," said a union spokesman.
Deadlocked Casino Negotiations
Since April this year, the casino union representing Crown Melbourne workers, United Voice, has been involved with Crown's management over a new wage deal. However the negotiations seem to be deadlocked at this point.
In an attempt to kick start the process, the 5,000 workers say that they are planning to “go public” with their demands, starting with large scale protests in Melbourne's CBD on Friday.
Crown Casino Employees "Paid Well"
According to a spokesperson for Crown, the company's employees receive higher pay than the prescribed basic wagers safety net, although it did not deny that these could be improved and that negotiations were ongoing.
"Crown employees continue to receive higher pay and conditions than the tourism and hospitality industry," said the spokesman.
"Since 2013, Crown Melbourne has added more than 1000 new jobs and provided existing staff with valuable training and career development opportunities."
Crown Melbourne made over $660 million in profits last year - an increase of 30%.
"Working at Crown means they [the workers] miss out on important events with family and friends," noted the union representative. "There is also a heavy health cost to working these hours. It's time Crown recognized these sacrifices."