More than 5,500 workers at Crown Melbourne, including, hospitality staff, gaming staff, cleaners and security guards, rejected management’s 2.75 percent pay raise offer last week and are preparing for a large-scale protest in the central business district (CBD) on Friday.

In addition to an increase of at least 5 percent a year, the workers employed by Victoria‘s biggest single-site employer are demanding shift premiums of up to $3 an hour for late night shifts and weekend work between 7pm and 7am, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Crown management and casino union United Voice have been at odds over the terms of a new wage contract since April, but now it appears that negotiations are deadlocked. Officials from the casino union say that “hundreds of personal stories” of workers who have missed family events because they had to work at the casino on the weekend are being collected. The union said that the majority of the company’s staff work upwards of 40 or more weekends every year, which means they routinely miss out on family events and milestones, according to the news agency.

Trained food and beverage workers earn $22 per hour or $44,000 annually under Crown’s existing pay rates. While games dealers with a year’s experience earn $24 an hour and approximately $47,000 annually; increasing progressively to about $60,000 after five years, as reported by the news agency. A Crown spokesman said that instead of receiving the shift premiums, employees are paid a higher overall hourly wage. The spokesman said, “Crown employees continue to receive higher pay and conditions than the tourism and hospitality industry, “ and, “Since 2013, Crown Melbourne has added more than 1000 new jobs and provided existing staff with valuable training and career development opportunities.”

According to United Voice, the requested shift premiums would give the workers an extra $20, which is the equivalent of what Crown charges for a cocktail. Jessica Walsh, Secretary at United Voice, said Crown refuses to recognize the sacrifices made by its workers, which have contributed to the casino giant’s $662 million profits; up 30 percent from last year. Walsh said, “Our members are proud of the world-class service they provide but feel it’s time that Crown management recognise the sacrifices they make working on weekends and their contribution to Crown’s success. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to win the respect and recognition they deserve,” according to the news agency.

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