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SkyCity Workers Reject "Strong" Offer

SkyCity claims offer is ‘strong’ despite rejection by workers

SkyCity Hamilton has angered Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota (SFWU) members by releasing a statement that claims the company’s latest offer was ‘strong’. Hamilton casino union members rejected the offer of 2% (or 12.5% over three years) because it did not address pay parity with their Auckland colleagues and included flexi-time provisions that would destroy their work-life balance.

Pay parity is a key issue because SFWU members feel the company is undervaluing them for the professional and skilled work they perform. Members believe start rates of around $10 an hour are insulting and do not reflect the high work standards and commitment to the company that members demonstrate.

The take-it-or-leave-it offer from management would see SFWU members locked into a three year deal, without hope of a pay increase or parity with Auckland workers until they bargained again in 2009. The flexi-time proposal included in the offer would mean workers had a guaranteed minimum of 160 hours per month, including broken shifts, late shifts and up to 10 shifts in a row.

Strike action on two evenings has buoyed the spirits of the negotiating union members but has done little to dent the resolve of the company, who refuse to accept a claim for pay parity with Auckland.

Since the casino opened, the gap in pay rates between Auckland and Hamilton casino workers have slowly grown. Union negotiated pay increases in Auckland saw the rates climb steadily over the past few years, while rates at Hamilton stalled and now lag behind Auckland.

“SkyCity Hamilton has caused millions of dollars to be drained out of the Waikato economy and has returned nothing but a handful of low-wage jobs. These workers have been the engine driving SkyCity Hamilton’s rapid growth and huge profits, it’s time they and their community got a little back from this company.” said Nga Ringa Tota Northern Region Secretary Lisa Eldret

“Work-life balance is a huge issue, the company demands flexibility without caring what the impact is on peoples lives.” said Ms Eldret

“If you work 80 hours one week, 20 hours the next, 40 hours the next and 20 hours in the fourth week you’ve worked your 160 hours, but it’s not how I would want to live. Most people work to live, not the other way around and SkyCity can’t seem to see that.” said Ms Eldret

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