Union work­ers have a win at Crown

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - EWIN HANNAN WORK­PLACE EDI­TOR

James Packer’s Crown Re­sorts has caved in to a union cam­paign, agree­ing to re­in­state pok­er­ma­chine tech­ni­cians on union-ne­go­ti­ated wages and con­di­tions and pay them com­pen­sa­tion.

The back­down was de­scribed by Elec­tri­cal Trades Union Vic­to­rian sec­re­tary Troy Gray as the big­gest “ca­pit­u­la­tion” by an em­ployer he had seen in 25 years.

Unions had threat­ened a so­cial me­dia war against Crown over its de­ci­sion in July to re­place 18 tech­ni­cians with lesser-paid con­trac­tors em­ployed by Amtek Cor­po­ra­tion, chaired by for­mer Vic­to­rian premier Jeff Ken­nett.

The ETU had ad­mit­ted the plan, which saw the con­trac­tors each paid half the $76,000 wage of the tech­ni­cians, was law­ful.

Mr Gray said he re­cently was ap­proached by Crown ex­ec­u­tive Karl Bi­tar, and a deal to re­in­state the tech­ni­cians on their for­mer pay and con­di­tions was reached on Thurs­day night.

He ex­pected about 13 tech­ni­cians to re­turn, and they would be em­ployed di­rectly by Crown. How­ever, the con­tract with Amtek would re­main in place.

Sources de­nied the set­tle­ment was linked to claims by in­de­pen­dent MP An­drew Wilkie about al­leged poker ma­chine tam­per­ing. Mr Wilkie used par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege to dis­close tes­ti­mony from three for­mer work­ers.

“This was an in­dus­trial out­come,’’ one source said. “The horse has al­ready bolted on the Wilkie claims as they are now with the author­i­ties”

Crown and Mr Ken­nett de­clined to com­ment.

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