Crown Resorts, out of Australia, just can’t seem to catch a break. If it isn’t having to deal with issues regarding illegal activities in China or rigged machines and money-laundering allegations back home, it has to deal reports of high-level corruption and potentially rigging visa programs that allow mob figures and individuals with ties to terrorism into the country. Adding to its growing list of problems is the apparent presence of internal strife, as workers at one of the company’s venues are set to go on strike on November 1.
Unless Crown finds some way to appease its workforce before this weekend, the strike will be the first at the company in 16 years. If not, employees from Crown Casino in Melbourne will be leaving their jobs for about two hours, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald. Anyone from bartenders to card dealers and from restaurant workers to security guards could participate in the strike.
Crown and the property’s workers have been trying to work out a new arrangement that favors the employees more, but have been at loggerheads over how to proceed. The workers are getting impatient as they try to convince the company to increase their salaries and their union, United Voice, has confirmed that the majority of its members at the property are ready to walk off the job.
The timing of the strike isn’t coincidental. This weekend, Derby Day will be held at the Flemington racecourse as the latest edition of the Melbourne Cup week gets underway, and Crown will definitely feel the strike in its wallet if a resolution isn’t found. United Voice adds that the action will leave “bars and restaurants unattended and gaming rooms without dealers.”
The employee action could continue throughout the weekend, as well. Depending on how things go Friday, another strike could take place on Saturday and that one could potentially be longer. Employees have tentatively agreed to strikes as long as 24 hours, as well as a complete ban on serving alcohol.
The negotiations between the union and Crown have been running for several months, but United Voice, as the employees’ representative, wants Crown to revamp the way it treats the entire workforce. It claims that 70% of the employees are working as part-time or “casual” employees, which limits their wages and benefits. The union asserts that this is in violation of an agreement between the state and the casino and isn’t willing to back down unless several concessions are made.
Crown believes it’s treating its employees nicely and equitably. A company spokesperson said in response to the strike, “We provide a flexible workplace which caters to thousands of staff who prefer to work on a part-time or casual basis. Where staff would like to work additional hours… we strive to provide them with the opportunity to increase their hours.”