Fri, Nov 8, 1:18pm by Ethan Anderson
Despite long queues inside the foyer of the TAB, Crown Perth workers demanding a 3% pay rise from management outside were unable to halt a field of events on Melbourne Cup day.
The Brisbane Times reports that employees were expected to join Tuesday’s action in blocking the main entrance for patrons driving into the complex, while Crown’s several bars, gambling tables, restaurants and hotel staff were expected to be severely understaffed.
However from 10am, 100 workers of the 6000-strong workforce protested for an hour to demand a better pay deal. Whilst this was taking place, it was business as usual inside the complex and on gaming floors, with a steady stream of punters and Cup partygoers.
The strike was scheduled to last four hours however was not expected to impact on the casino’s operations with only a portion of the 6000-strong workforce taking part.
Member of Crown’s canteen staff, Kelly Waddingham spoke to Community News on the wage protest on Tuesday.
“We’ve been offered a 1.75 per cent, which I think is utterly ridiculous,” she said.
“I’ve been at Crown now seven years come May. I love the place but I also think if we’re gonna work this hard, then we should reap the benefits.”
Anti-horse racing protesters were also expected to disrupt patrons at Ascot Racecourse which saw a strong crowd build up before the Melbourne Cup, which ran at 12pm (Perth time) and was won by Australian horse Vow and Declare.
About 80 protesters positioned themselves outside Ascot’s main gate shouted “horse racing kills” and “you lose your money, they lose their lives” as dressed up racegoers began entering the course.
Crown Perth is facing costly industrial action with 96 per cent of union members voting in favour of action for the first time in a decade.
What may be considered the most meaningful Cup-day protest was from North Perth pub The Rosemount, where after consultation on social media, the decision was made not to screen the race that stops a nation in their venue.
“In the past few decades, a lot of concerning news has come out about the treatment of horses in the horse racing industry,” the venue said on its Facebook page.
— Ailish Delaney (@ailishldelaney) November 5, 2019
United Voice, the union representing Crown Perth’s casino staff, had hoped to make a financial dent on one of the complex’s biggest days.
Workers union, United Voice, made a statement on Monday about the upcoming strike.
“Melbourne Cup is one of the biggest events on the Crown calendar and management have shot themselves in the foot by playing these silly games,” Organising Director Catalina Gonzalez said.
“We ask members of the community who believe Crown workers deserve a fair share of Crown’s multi-million dollar profit to not cross the picket line and support these workers.”
United Voice WA secretary Carolyn Smith said last week that the spring carnival was one of Crown Perth’s busiest times of year and usually required “all hands on deck to service around 300,000 patrons per day”.
“The amount of money Crown will lose through this strike outweighs what members are actually bargaining for.”
A Crown Perth spokesperson also said last week that the company was currently bargaining with the union for a new enterprise agreement.
Crown Perth told Radio 6PR that they had “extensive plans” in place to minimise disruption caused by the strike.
Despite the protest not having the perceived impact it may have anticipated prior to Tuesday, the fact that a group of about 100 protestors voiced their issues with the organisation on Melbourne Cup Day would not go unnoticed by the community. It may also still play a role in assisting its employee bargaining agreement negotiations.
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