|Issue No 64||28 July 2000|
Casino Plumps for Penalty Rates
By Andrew Casey
Sydney's Star City Casino has decided to buck the trend in the hospitality industry by re-introducing penalty rates for weekend and night work.
" They were having trouble attracting workers on weekends," Tim Ferrari, the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) Assistant National Secretary, said today.
" So the Casino plumped for a return to penalty rates after five years of a scheme in which all workers got a loaded rate - no matter what their roster.
The Casino is not just returning to the old penalty rates scheme - they have decided that penalty rates will now kick in earlier than ever - starting Friday evenings, rather than Saturday mornings.
" The initiative to reintroduce the penalty rates came from Star City Casino management . There was debate among our members as to whether we should agree," Tim Ferrari, of the Casino Union, said.
" There has been a campaign by many employers - egged on by Peter Reith - to rubbish penalty rates as a bad Australian union tradition.
" Star City was one of the hospitality organisations who joined the campaign to get rid of penalty rates.
" At the time our members questioned the validity of this, but we eventually agreed when the company offered a 20 per cent loading to buy out the penalty rates.
" The union warned management that this change could mean they would find it hard to attract staff on weekends and now, five years later, we have been proved correct," Mr Ferrari said.
The reintroduction of penalty rates is part of a new enterprise agreement negotiated by the LHMU and endorsed by a two-third majority of staff in a ballot this week.
The new penalty rate structure at Star City Casino will provide a 50 per cent loading for workers starting at 7pm on Friday - with loadings throughout the rest of the weekend.
The 3000 workers at Star City will also receive base pay rises of 4 per cent a year - but the reintroduction of penalty rates will mean most workers can expect pay gains of between 5 per cent and 8 per cent in the first year and a further 4 per cent increase 12 months later.
As part of this agreement the LHMU has negotiated a $50 a day Olympic bonus.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005