Melbourne has been under severe civil pressure in the recent week due to a large number of local Crown casino employees protesting their job security in the future. Hundreds of protesters are gathering next to the casino every single day demanding that the company either increases their pay or at least gives them the opportunity to do full-time hours.
The local union has gathered information about the way the Crown casino treats its employees and is implying that 70% of the staff are either part-timers or just casual workers. This, however, is not by the workers’ choosing, it’s the way the casino structures its hours for its staff and there’s very little the employees can do themselves.
This, of course, warrants many of the protesters to either find a second job which increased their weekly work hours from 20-30 to 50-60 which is not a supported number by the Australian labor law.
One thing that we didn’t manage to find out is if the protesters got the license to hold the strikes. Because, if they didn’t the Crown casino has the right to deem these protests illegal and simply ignore their staff’ demands, meaning that the company has the legal authority to start firing the protesters for not showing up to work.
This has been the case with many other casinos, most recently Evolution Gaming in Georgia, where the company laid off half of its staff for striking illegally, all of which could have been avoided by contacting the local authorities and unions.
What is the local media’s take on this?
Although the Australian mainstream media is refraining from taking serious stances on this topic, it doesn’t mean that alternative media sources are going to leave it hanging like this.
Ashley Kotcher, a Playamo casino news editor commented:
“Although it’s easy to understand the Crown casino’s situation from a business standpoint, it’s essential to focus on the importance of the staff themselves. If they don’t get what they’re striking for, they’re very likely to simply quit and start looking for alternatives in Melbourne.
For a land-based casino, this could lead to a disaster. The Melbourne branch is one of the biggest ones they have, I think they cater to around 5000 people daily. It would be impossible to deliver the expected quality while they’re understaffed.
I as an employee of a casino would suggest them to use a model similar to Playamo. Employe people on full-time positions, or transfer those that need it the most, while others will have less working hours in Crown casino, but more time to dedicate themselves to another job, to which they can fully transition before long.”
What does the Crown casino say?
According to a spokeswoman from Crown casino in Melbourne, the company has been named as the best employer in Australia three times, in 2010, 2013 and 2015. She also mentioned that the company is not going to stop its performance because of this setback.
The spokeswoman provided a local news outlet the numbers which are being discussed in Melbourne Crown casino and the issues they’re currently facing. Around 7000 employees are currently involved in the local branch, 85% of which are full-time or part-time contracted employees, which benefits and all.
The spokeswoman mentioned that no matter how much the casino may try, finding 7000 full-time jobs is going to be impossible on a local level. The company always encourages employees to apply to higher-ranking positions to improve their employment conditions, but will most likely not start coming up with artificial positions just to have everybody employed full time.
Is this legal?
What the spokeswoman provided as evidence shows that the Crown casino is acting within the ramifications of the law, and has not overstepped its boundaries. The fact that employees cannot survive on a wage generated from a part-time job is not surprising.
Furthermore, the Australian labor law guarantees survivable income from a 40-hour workweek, it simply cannot cover something below those hours. As long as the Crown casino pays these people according to law, they may not have to face any issues with law enforcement.