Crown employees down tools in pay standoff

Employees of Crown Resorts in Melbourne downed tools on Tuesday and threatened the first strike in 16 years to press for wage increases and better conditions.

The workers are planning to refuse to serve alcohol during the key spring racing season, according to local television.

The United Workers Union said it will ask workers to endorse 24-hour strikes and may be in a position to take action from Nov. 1st, the day before Derby Day.

The workers are demanding a 5 percent annual pay increase as well as better conditions, such as full-time contracts. 

The strike threat comes amidst yet another claim of wrongdoing at the casino, with video showing bags of cash changing hands in a junket room that was allegedly leaked by officials in Victoria to Andrew Wilkie, a Tasmanian MP seeking a royal commission inquiry into allegations at the company. 

The federal government has rejected Wilkie’s calls as premature given multiple probes already being conducted by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Victorian regulator. 

Perth Now cited State Gaming Minister Marlene Kairouz as saying it was unclear what was going on in footage of stacks of money being exchanged for gaming chips.

“But it’s not uncommon for high roller rooms to have large amounts of cash in those rooms and let me remind the member that cash is indeed a legal tender,” Kairouz said.

Crown has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.