It’s getting tougher to make a decent living in the UK, and unionized employees are walking off the job as a result. Employees at the seven Grosvenor Casinos properties in London are set to join them this weekend, according to Bloomberg.
The UK is dealing with inflation that, if it remains unchecked, could cripple the gambling industry. People are demanding their employers give them permanent pay raises, but the economic pressure is making this difficult.
Grosvenor Casinos tried to offer its employees an alternative, but it didn’t go far enough. As a result, unionized employees voted to walk off the job this coming weekend.
A Pittance for Your Thoughts
Grosvenor, a Rank Group company, and its employees have been negotiating a financial solution to counter the effects of inflation. Trying to find a solution, the company put retention bonuses of £600 to £800 (US$695 to $927) on the table.
This doesn’t go far enough, according to the employees. As the UK is looking at the real possibility of 18% inflation, the one-time payments wouldn’t go very far.
Grosvenor Casinos is another big-money company that is raking it in, but refusing to pay its workers a wage that they can live on. It’s just not acceptable and this huge vote for action underscores the sense of anger across this workforce,” said Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham.
As a result, and with Grosvenor apparently unwilling to budge, around 150 members of the Grosvenor Casinos Unite union believe they have no other option. They will stage a three-day strike starting this Friday, joining other unions that recently walked off the job. Croupiers, restaurant staff, and more will participate.
Unite workers at the Port of Felixstowe recently staged an eight-day strike that ended without the two sides reaching an agreement. The employees threaten to strike again if negotiations continue to falter. Employees who didn’t strike received a £400 (US$463) bonus.
Rank Group said in a statement that it’s “disappointed” by the decision since negotiations are ongoing. It argues that the company is experiencing an “extremely challenging trading environment” that is impacting its financial health.
That environment didn’t stop Grosvenor from committing to spend around $4.25 million to upgrade its Merchant City casino in June. That was a month after it announced it would spend US$1.15 million on its Blackpool casino.
The Changing Economy
It’s been a busy couple of months for gaming companies and their employees. From New Zealand to Atlantic City to Peru, casino employees have recently held a number of strikes to fight for better wages.
Across the globe, inflation rates are soaring. In the US, the year-to-date inflation rate through July was 8.5%. Last year, it was 7%. Both cases are massive jumps from the 1.6% average over the previous nine years.
The UK faces a similar situation. Liz Truss is inheriting a nightmare as she takes over as PM. The country is witnessing the largest spike in inflation since 1982.
The biggest spike occurred in 1975, according to World Bank data, when it hit almost 25%. This was shortly after the UK joined the European Economic Union, a precursor to the European Union. Not until 1993 did the inflation rate see only limited movement, staying at around 2%-3% until 2007.
2015 was a banner year, with inflation at just 0.37%. It climbed again over the next few years, settling at .99% in 2020. However, it’s been all uphill from there. Inflation, as of July, is now over 10%.
While she may have more pressing matters to attend to, Truss may also listen to the people. A survey by Clean Up Gambling last month, sampling 2,242 people, found 70% in favor of quick action on the government’s white paper on gambling.
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