24 04 06
Sky City censors union notices
Union members’ freedom of speech threatened
Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota (SFWU) members are up in arms today after Sky City Auckland management revealed plans to prevent union access to a union-only notice board in reaction to recent notices posted.
“This is a straight-forward attack on our right to communicate – censorship through and through. It’s simple, they’re saying they didn’t like what we put up, so they’re taking away our right to free speech – it’s shocking.” Said SFWU Nga Ringa Tota Delegate Peter Milne.
The material that Sky City management has objected to features various answers given by Sky City CEO Evan Davies to union members’ questions when Davies recently met with staff for a “State of Play” presentation.
SFWU Nga Ringa Tota Cleaner Mathew Kneebone said to Davies at the meeting “Congratualtions Mr. Davies on your recent pay increase. Why is it that when us loyal workers ask for pay rises comparable to Sky City’s Australian casino pay levels we are refused?”
The answer Davies gave, according to union members, is that he is paid comparable rates to Australian CEO’s and his casino staff should go to Australia if they want the same.
Union members present reported that Davies added, he would rather close Sky City Hamilton than pay the workers at Auckland rates.
“We were disgusted to hear that, especially when we sit down with the company and expect to bargain in good faith. His comments disturbed me, it undermines the work we all do here.” says Tracey Eaglestone, SFWU Nga Ringa Tota Delegate and Northern Region Executive member.
“We first fought for our notice board about 6 years ago, and this is the first time the Company has tampered with our notices. The insulting part is that our union was given no written complaint or even the chance to consult with the Company about their objections.” says SFWU Nga Ringa Tota delegate Charles Olmstead.
“If we let them go into our notice board without permission and remove our members’ notices even once, they’ll do it time and time again. That’s the Sky City way, we’ve learned.” said Mr Olmstead.
Christchurch Casino workers in the SFWU Nga Ringa Tota are currently campaigning to get an SFWU Nga Ringa Tota noticeboard at their casino. Hamilton and Dunedin casinos also have SFWU Nga Ringa Tota noticeboards by agreement with Sky City.