Crown Perth workers to join Melbourne spring carnival strike

By William Brown Updated
Crown Perth found unsuitable to hold casino licence

Crown Perth is facing costly industrial action on the eve of the spring racing carnival after 96 per cent of union members voted in favour of action for the first time in a decade. The move follows Melbourne’s Crown Casino’s strike plans already announced for the period.

The Age reports that strikes of up to 24 hours would also include bans on serving alcohol in what looks set to be a major disruption to the casino’s daily operations and profit.

United Voice WA secretary Carolyn Smith said that the spring carnival was one of Crown Perth’s busiest times of year which usually required all “hands on deck to service around 300,000 patrons per day”.

“The amount of money Crown will lose through this strike outweighs what members are actually bargaining for,” she said.

The Perth action follows United Voice Melbourne’s announcement of its members, including bartenders, card dealers, restaurant and bar staff, hotel workers and security guards, will walk off the job for two hours on Friday night, the first of several strikes it said would run throughout the racing season.

The two parties have had stalled negotiations in the new wage deal for its staff across its Melbourne and Perth venues..

Friday night will see casino workers walk off the job for two hours in Melbourne “leaving bars and restaurants unattended and gaming rooms without dealers” which will represent the first strike action at the Southbank complex for 16 years, the union said.

Ms Smith mentioned that patrons at Crown Perth should expect severe disruptions urging the public to hold back from buying any Crown-related ticketed events during the racing season as it may lead to disappointment.

“It is in the best interest to not buy tickets to Crown events as they will be deeply disappointed and will see major disturbances to their day,” she said.

After Friday’s strike, Melbourne workers will then decide whether to continue on Saturday, which is the Derby Day meeting at Flemington racecourse, before the Melbourne Cup on November 5.

Major concern is job safety and security

The union said that its major concern was to win “secure, stable jobs” in the new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), and that it claimed 70% of Crown’s workforce were in part-time or casual roles.

This weighting of part-time and casual employment broke Crown’s “social contract” with Victoria, where the union said that was to create thousands of jobs in return for the organistion having a monopoly licence and paying $1 a year to rent a large piece of public land.

Business owner Crown Resorts said that it was working “constructively” with United Voice towards a new EBA.

A Crown spokeswoman said that the casino was an award-winning “employer of choice”, in which 83% of its workforce were employed on a permanent full-time or permanent part-time basis.

“We provide a flexible workplace which caters to thousands of staff who prefer to work on a part-time or casual basis,” the spokeswoman said.

“Where staff would like to work additional hours … we strive to provide them with the opportunity to increase their hours.”

Also announced on Monday was that the public hearings by the federal law enforcement watchdog into potential corrupt conduct involving Crown Resorts and the Department of Home Affairs have been delayed following the availability of a “key witness” came into doubt.

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity also said “a number of key witnesses have recently come forward with new information” that are relevant to its inquiry.

The hearings’ preliminary witness list includes former Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg. The agency have said that it would announce new dates for the public hearings soon.

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