SkyCity Casino employees striking for compensation over unsociable hours

SkyCity Casino workers are picketing this evening in a campaign protest for compensation over the unsociable hours they work during nights and weekends. 

SkyCity workers picket outside the casino. Source: 1 NEWS

The strike action will take place on Federal Street, outside SkyCity, from 5pm tonight until 8am tomorrow morning.

The casino employs 900 staff, almost all of them are members of Unite Union and 97 per cent voted for strike action at a union meeting last week.

The main union claim is is for penal rates at nights and weekends, when SkyCity makes most of its profits. 

“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," Unite National secretary Gerard Hehir said in a statement.

“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 – recognising that not all hours are equal," Mr Hehir added.

The campaign is called 'Back to the Weekend' to underline the rights of employees to be able to choose to spend more weekends with family and friends like most other workers.

Employees at SkyCity's Adelaide Casino are receiving penal rates for working unsociable hours. 

"If it is good enough for their Australian employees why can’t their New Zealand employees in Auckland, who generate the vast bulk of income and profit, get at least part of that," SkyCity site convenor Joe Carolan added in the statement. 

The union has been negotiating different rosters for years but says SkyCity has currently rejected any negotiations.

"SkyCity made over $144 million in profit and only last week were boasting about having $450 million in the bank," Mr Carolan said.

"Time to share."

SkyCity says it has has been negotiating with Unite union to work towards agreeing terms and conditions for new collective employment agreements. 

The company confirmed a strike notice has been issued by Unite union indicating strike action will take place from 5pm today to 8am tomorrow.

SkyCity said it has submitted a comprehensive offer to Unite which includes a proposed wage increase of  between six per cent to 25 per cent over the next two years.

"SkyCity is committed to providing fair opportunities for all our employees and will continue to work with Unite and employees to find a resolution for all," it said.