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Union fireworks at SkyCity on New Year’s Day

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SkyCity Casino in Auckland will be the scene of union organised action on January 1 starting immediately after the traditional fireworks display.

Unite and the Service and Food Workers Union are organizing a series of joint stop-work meetings starting at 12.30am on New Year’s day. The meetings will be voting on a resolution from the union negotiating team rejecting the company’s offer in the Collective Agreement negotiations and empowering the unions to organise continuing industrial action until a suitable offer is received.

“This stop work meeting will the world’s first industrial action in 2011”, said Unite National Director and lead union negotiator Mike Treen. "We are holding the meetings on New Year’s day because by then the Collective Agreement will have expired and yet the company refused to allow the unions to consult their members on the company offer before that date."

“We had an agreement that the unions could hold meetings on December 29. The company reneged on that agreement when at the last minute they insisted that the meetings would only be allowed if we recommended the company offer. This was a blatant attempt to blackmail the union negotiating team who had unanimously rejected the offer from the company.

“The company offer is 3% a year for 3 years – take it or leave it. The company refused to discuss any other changes to the Collective Agreement. Major areas of disagreement couldn’t be addressed in the negotiations. The areas included the fact that starting rates for many jobs are barely above the minimum wage, that frontline salaried staff are excluded from Collective Agreement coverage, that part-time workers have no guarantee of regular hours or shifts, or the need to raise the minimum wage to $15. The company wouldn’t even agree to add clauses to the agreement reflecting changes in the law like the new flexible working hours law. They are one of the only casinos in the world that doesn’t provide free meals and parking to staff yet won’t agree to freeze these charges for the duration of the agreement.

“This is part of a long-standing campaign by the company to marginalise the union since the new management team took over a few years ago. This attitude was typified by the response of Grainne Troute, the General Manager of Human Resources for SkyCity, when asked if she considered unions a ‘necessary evil’. She responded that the only word she disagreed with was ‘necessary’!

“The company is now trying to bully staff into accepting the agreement or leaving the unions with completely false claims that the meetings are ‘illegal’ and any action will mean union members won’t get any back pay on a settlement.

“These tactics will fail. The unions represent 1100 members – a majority of frontline staff. They are determined to get a better deal. This is a hugely profitable company with a virtual licence to print money and yet pays new staff as little as $12.81 an hour – six cents above the minimum wage. It is a disgrace and should end.”

Comments

Quick question

How did this action go?

It was a good action. Even

It was a good action. Even had the biggest fireworks for the year. :) Joe will have an update.

Sorry but I do not share your optimism

Unite union has one of the most fluid memberships of any union in the country. Many are only attracted through some random action that the leadership initiates to get a better deal here or there. No solid membership base is the problem with you guys at Unite, no matter how much I support your actual goals and ambitions. You have to seriously rethink the whole agenda. You need to bond members more, not just work on getting a dollar more here and there, but get people organised to become a solid active base to change the whole industrial environment in NZ Aotearoa!

It sadly is NOT happening. Too many deals here and there, too many stunt activities leading to too little.

Get low cost memberships, get people bonded and motivated, activate, educate, convince and organise for larger than what you are doing, and the movement will become awesome.

Do not just work on pay deals, working conditions, get awareness, education and more done, so people can see that they are living in a totally dumbed down and brainwashed country that could do a hell of a lot better than what we are doing and getting.

NO deals with governments, their MP's, no compromises even with the Labour Party must be the absolute essence of future directions, because all this will only corrupt and weaken the union and beneficiary movements!

This is my call and request for tonight, I wish more action would happen on this lonely website! Good night all.