Pay dispute at Melbourne's Crown Casino could lead to weekend strike

Casino workers in Melbourne, Australia, embroiled in a pay dispute with Crown Casino, were preparing to go on strike this weekend during the city’s busy Caulfield Cup thoroughbred race.

The Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union released a statement saying casino workers notified Crown on Monday that protected strike action would start on Friday and continue into Caulfield Cup Day on Saturday, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The LHMU claims the strike could cost Crown as much as A$4.3 million in revenue and $1 million in profits a day, while the government of the state of Victoria could lose $400,000 in tax revenue per day.

Union members, including croupiers and food and beverage staff, have rejected Crown’s offer of a 3.75 percent per year pay hike and other contract changes it says could cost experienced dealers almost $5,000 a year. The union wants a 13.5 percent wage increase over three years, with protection for dealers’ jobs. Crown’s offer works out to about 11 percent over three years.

A Crown spokesman said the casino was confident its contingency plans were adequate to ensure the casino would continue to operate efficiently.