Around a third of SkyCity’s New Zealand casino workforce went on strike for the second time in as many weeks on Saturday in an ongoing dispute over penalty rates.
Around 900 employees who are also members of Unite Union opted out of their shifts from 10pm on Saturday night until 8am Monday morning as part of a campaign called “Back to the Weekend”. The union-led strikes are deliberately aimed at disrupting SkyCity’s busiest weekend and night-time shifts which Unite says unfairly disrupt the lives of its members.
“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 told local media.
“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 – recognizing that not all hours are equal.”
According to reports, SkyCity – which boasts around 2,000 workers across its four New Zealand casinos – has offered to discuss rostering but not pay rates.
SkyCity has so far issued no public comment on the issue.