Nearly one-third of the SkyCity’s employees staged a strike for the second time on Saturday in an unending disagreement over the penalty rates. According to reports, the 900 employees who went on a strike demanded better pay especially for night duties and weekend. However, negotiations with SkyCity failed to bring any result.
It is claimed that the ongoing strike is one of the largest migrant strikes in the history of New Zealand.
Reports say the SkyCity’s employees happened to be the members of the Unite Union. The workers have refused to work during the night shift (from 10 pm Saturday to 8 am Monday) as part of a crusade known as ‘Back to the Weekend.’ The strike seeks to upset SkyCity’s overloaded weekend and night shifts which Unite claims unduly disturb the lives of its many members.
According to the Unite National secretary Gerard Hehir, the root cause of the problem is that SkyCity requires a large number of its employees during weekends and night shift as it generates maximum of its income during those hours. The casino chooses to use the ‘stick’ instead of the ‘carrot’ to get the workforce during those hours.
Hehir added, SkyCity should change its attitude and should be encouraging the workforce who may decide to work during those hours. It should understand that not all hours can be equal.
The campaign is popularly known as ‘Back to the Weekend’ aims to restore the basic rights of the employees to spend quality time with family members and friends during weekends just like other workers.
To make matters worse, SkyCity’s employees receive penal rates for working during the unfriendly hours.
Meanwhile, the union has been trying to negotiate for several years for different roasters, but reportedly SkyCity has rejected negotiation as of now.
SkyCity site convenor Joe Carolan said, SkyCity earned more than $144 million profit and recently boasted that they had approximately $450 million in the bank.
Meanwhile, SkyCity claims that it is leaving no stone unturned to negotiate with the Unite union to create acceptable terms and conditions for new combined employment agreements.
SkyCity also said that it had made an inclusive offer to Unite which includes a wage hike proposal of six percent to 25 percent over the next two years period.
According to a statement issued by the SkyCity, the company seeks to offer fair opportunities for all of its employees and wants to continue to work with Unite and workforce to find an acceptable resolution for all.