Casino strikes continue into third month

– Laurie Garnett

Auckland’s SkyCity casino workers have been striking since August. In the last issue of the Spark we looked at the creative tactics of the strikers who were in for the long haul. With the company not budging from its 4 percent offer, workers are keeping the pressure on the management.

In the twenty or so different casino departments union members use varying tactics. Some go out on half-hour strikes, some organise a whole shift of strike action. Others turn up to work late, while some leave early. If the company increases staffing levels in anticipation of strikes the union members stay on duty to maximise the cost to the company. When negotiations at the end of September ended with the company refusing to improve its offer, 80 staff immediately walked off the job. The strikes are called by rank and file union members with the element of surprise being a key tool. As 40 percent of the workforce is not unionised the method of intermittent skirmishing is favoured over attempts at all out strikes.

The new management team which was appointed earlier this year had hoped to quickly make their mark, but now their plans for the business have been stymied by a culture of defiance.

If they expected to win over hearts and minds with a few pizzas and movie passes they should know better by now. The strikes are about having decent wages and recognition of service. Save the pizzas for the managers who have to get out of bed in the middle of the night when a strike is called.

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