One of the UK’s leading brick-and-mortar casino providers may be facing strike action as summer comes to a close, with a union balloting its members on strike action over the chain’s latest pay deal. Grosvenor Casinos, which maintains 53 casinos in the UK, is the focus of a potential action which would affect its central London locations over the firm’s decision to offer what is being deemed a “real terms pay cut”.
Members of Unite the Union will begin to receive ballot papers this week, with voting set to close on the 23rd of August. If no new pay deal is agreed upon, and the ballot is in favour of industrial action, then workers could be called out in early September with the potential of further strikes to follow.
The situation in Grosvenor’s pay dispute mirrors the national picture, with rail workers having already gone on strike multiple times since the start of the summer, and telecoms staff also having recently stopped work. With the spectre of a general strike still being raised in the media, Grosvenor may be just one employer that finds itself on the sharp end of a withdrawal of labour in the coming months.
The dispute, in this case, revolves around a pay deal which would bring the casino chain’s lowest-paid workers into line with the London Living Wage, while any employee above that pay grade would be offered a pay rise of 4.3%. With the rate of inflation currently above 11%, this would represent less purchasing power for the staff in question. Union sources have pointed to the fact that many of the jobs concerned include unsociable hours and late-night working, in a city which is expensive to live in.
The putative strike would mirror action taken by casino workers in Atlantic City, whose strike threat was averted by a pay deal described as the best ever achieved in the sector. Meanwhile in Ontario, a strike was partially averted when the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation came to an agreement with workers at six casinos. However, workers at two of the casinos in negotiations are still on strike two weeks later. Time will tell whether Grosvenor, which saw profits of £40 million in 2021, will reach a pay deal with the employees concerned ahead of the deadline for industrial action. As of this moment, they have a little over three weeks and a fractious vote between them and a loss of a significant portion of their workforce.