Union advises Chch casino staff not to act hastily

4:12 pm on 3 April 2011

The union representing employees at the Christchurch Casino is advising its members not to accept the offer of redundancy.

More than 500 people employed by the casino have been given until Tuesday to decide whether to take redundancy, or go on leave without pay until the business is able to reopen.

Those who decide to take redundancy will get four weeks pay, plus any accrued leave and entitlements.

Service and Food Workers Union spokesperson Len Richards says given SkyCity in Auckland offers redundancy payments of up to 18-weeks, Christchurch can do better.

He says the company is pressuring people to make up their minds within a very short space of time.

Mr Richards says the union is advising people not to give the company an answer until they have had time to discuss it.

He says the union will be discussing it on Friday and he advises people to wait until then to decide, when hopefully there will be a better redundancy deal on the table.

Employees have received full pay since the quake on 22 February, but chief executive Brett Anderson says paying more than $400,000 in weekly wages is no longer viable.

He says they want to resume full operation at the current site as soon as possible - but he can't tell staff when that may be.

Mr Anderson says while the casino suffered only minor damage in the quake, access to it is restricted, as other buildings around have to be demolished.

He says there are no guarantees that all staff will be re-employed immediately once the casino re-opens.

A long-serving casino employee, who doesn't want to be named, says the staff are devastated by Saturday's announcement.

She says the staff have been told that if they seek help from Work and Income New Zealand, there will be no stand down period for the unemployment benefit.