Casino operator SkyCity, the biggest single-site employer in Auckland, will provide employees with more security by ending zero-hours contracts starting next year.
Following strong revenue growth, SkyCity Auckland reached an agreement with Unite Union and the Service and Food Workers Union to give its 800 part-time and on-call staff guaranteed hours of at least 8, 16, 20 or 32 hours a week. SkyCity employees will have the option of electing a higher number of hours or remaining on their current minimum hours, depending on their individual circumstances.
SkyCity Auckland has also agreed to a 2.5% pay increase for all staff for the next two years.
Unite Union assistant secretary Tom Buckley said the agreement followed a union campaign against zero-hours contracts, which started in December. Fast food restaurants, cinema chains and two hotels have already agreed to end such contracts.
The negotiation between the union and SkyCity started in May and Buckley said that “in the past it’s been a much more confrontational relationship between the unions and the casino.”
“They genuinely took a constructive approach to us this time around. I think we managed to make a bit of progress on things that we wouldn’t have done previously,” said Buckley. “Also there was just an acknowledgement that they wanted to do what’s best by their employees… I think it’s just a realization that part-time and zero-hours contracts are quite costly when you allow for engagement and training costs.”
“While the company has always said it needs flexibility from its employees because of the nature of our business, we also recognize the importance of security of hours to our staff,” said SkyCity GM of corporate services Grainne Troute. “The communication throughout this year’s bargaining has been constructive, with the best interests of our staff always the focus of both parties. We look forward to this positive relationship continuing in future years.”
With close to 3500 staff at its Auckland casino, SkyCity is also expected to employ an additional 800 people as it invests more than $450m to build the NZ International Convention Centre. In exchange, the New Zealand Government will permit SkyCity Auckland to install 40 additional gaming tables and 230 video poker machines.