The Guardian May 17, 2000


Casino workers strike

by Magda Hansson

While Star City Casino increased its profits by 26.4 per cent over the last 
12 months and while the casino's CEO takes home over $23,000 per week the 
Star City workers are expected to take the equivalent of a seven per cent 
pay cut.

The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMWU) is wanting 
at least a 15 per cent over two years pay increase for its members to 
offset inflation, expected to be 7.5 per cent, and the extra burden of the 
GST.

Management is offering 8.75 per cent over three years which would barely 
cover the 7.3 per cent average cut to wages that would result if the loaded 
shift penalties are abolished as demanded by management.

Management want rates of pay based on low and peak periods at the casino, 
so a worker on the morning shift after 4am would receive no loading on 
their base rate and workers on Sunday would only receive only 25 per cent 
while it is currently 75 per cent under the award.

The union is insisting that all workers be paid proper penalty rates. There 
are social and health issues that arise from working these unsociable hours 
and workers should be compensated for them.

Management has rejected 90 per cent of the unions 39 claims and wants to 
abolish 24 clauses in the former Enterprise Agreement that protects 
workers. It has so far ignored members' concerns on health and safety 
issues.

Due to management's go slow tactics and repeated cancellation of meetings, 
the old Enterprise Agreement expired without a new one being agreed on.

The union and its members were forced to take industrial action last month 
in order to protect their conditions and force the Casino to negotiate a 
better deal.

The LHMWU initiated a protected bargaining period with the Australian 
Industrial Relations Commission. The period is indefinite, until a new 
Enterprise Agreement is reached.

More than 2000 workers took part in the strike and more than 500 new 
members were signed up bringing the total membership to over 75 per cent at 
the Casino.

Other issues for the union and their members are the lack of a formal 
grievance procedure, the apparent unwillingness of management to implement 
one and the protection of workers from passive smoking.

The union wants management to consult with union delegates to create proper 
procedures and for them to be written into the Enterprise Agreement.

Management does not always back up workers when it comes to dealing with 
drunk and abusive gamblers.

Croupiers, in particular, are at risk from passive smoking.

They can have up to eight players within two feet of them blowing smoke 
into their faces for up to eight hours over a shift.

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