In Australia, unionized front-line workers at the giant Crown Melbourne facility are reportedly set to walk off the job for two hours on Friday evening amid stalled negotiations with operator Crown Resorts Limited concerning a new wage deal.

According to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the move from members of the United Voice union is to see card dealers, hotel workers, security guards and restaurant and bar staff at the Victoria venue down tools and could possibly be followed by further strikes of up to 24 hours alongside a ban on the serving of alcohol.

Absent action:

The newspaper reported that the action will represent the first Crown Melbourne strike in 16 years with the union declaring that the move is due to leave ‘bars and restaurants unattended and gaming rooms without dealers.’ United Voice purportedly moreover explained that its workers are to decide on Friday night whether to continue with their campaign through the profitable spring horseracing season, which is to get underway on Saturday with Stakes Day contests from nearby Flemington Racecourse.

Protracted progress:

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the unionized Crown Melbourne workers have been involved in negotiations with Crown Resorts Limited for some six months in an attempt to obtain a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA). But, United Voice purportedly proclaimed that the Sydney-listed operator has not yet ‘put a substantive offer on the table’ and is breaking its ‘social contract’ with Victoria.

Casual concerns:

The newspaper reported that Crown Resorts pays only a peppercorn rent for the 126-acre plot of government-owned land its downtown Melbourne casino occupies and is supposed to return this goodwill by offering thousands of permanent jobs. However, the union purportedly revealed that some 70% of the Crown Melbourne workforce is instead comprised of part-time or casual employees.

Praising plasticity:

For its part, Crown Resorts Ltd stated that it is working ‘constructively’ with United Voice towards agreeing a new EBA and is considered an award-winning ‘employer of choice’ with 83% of its Victoria staff having permanent part-time or full-time roles.

The firm release the following statement…

“We provide a flexible workplace that caters to thousands of staff who prefer to work on a part-time or casual basis. Where staff would like to work additional hours, we strive to provide them with the opportunity to increase their hours.”

Postponed probe:

In related news, the source further reported that the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity has delayed its public hearings into allegations that Crown Resorts may have lobbied government officials into fast-tracking visas for VIP clients. These claims first surfaced in July and were purportedly part of an effort by the casino operator to attract ultra-wealthy Chinese gamblers to its venues in Perth and Melbourne.

Federal law enforcement watchdog decided to reschedule its inquiry due to doubts over the availability of a ‘key witness’ as well as the recent appearance of ‘a number of key witnesses… with new information’ and intends to announce revised dates for the examination soon.