‘300’ join picket line at Crown Perth

About 300 people have joined the picket line at the Crown. Photo: Ailish Delaney
About 300 people have joined the picket line at the Crown. Photo: Ailish Delaney

MORE than 300 people have joined a Melbourne Cup-day strike at Crown Perth, according to the union United Voice Australia.

The union claimed to have counted 375 people on an in-person attendance register.

Workers were holding a four-hour strike to demand a pay rise during one of the busiest days of the year at the Burswood venue.

Crowds chanted ‘what do we want? fair pay” and held placards during the peaceful protest, picketing the main entrance from the car park near Bolton Avenue.

Workers gather at Crown Perth this morning. Photo: Ailish Delaney

Underground canteen staff Kelly Waddingham said the workers were asking for a three per cent pay rise.

“We’ve been offered a 1.75 per cent (raise), 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.”

Table games dealer Hayden Smallwood said he chose to walk for a fairer pay deal with Crown as the economy was getting better.

“We’ve heeded the call of the Reserve Bank governor and the Federal Treasurer, and tried to get pay rises for Australians to help the economy,” he said.

Organising director Catalina Gonzalez said workers have been bargaining for the three per cent pay rise for the past six months.

“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,” she said.

“If Crown doesn’t give employees what they deserve, then what employer will?

“If we don’t win this fight it sends a huge message to other employers that they can beat workers down and pay them very little and that is a huge fight.”

The union said the action would leave security, gaming tables and bars significantly understaffed.

Crown Perth said it would work to minimise any disruption.

“Crown is currently bargaining with the union for a new enterprise agreement to replace the existing one,” a Crown spokesperson said.

“The parties are constructively working towards finalising our new agreement.

“Crown prides itself on being an employer of choice and has received numerous awards over the years, including Australian Employer of the Year in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

“Crown is proud to have over 6000 people working at Crown Perth.

“Crown Perth has put in place extensive plans to minimise any potential disruption to our customers and staff.”