SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house

SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation.
The solo mother, has worked at the company for 15 years. Speaking through tears in her voice she told the meeting  “I’ve been part time for 11 years, working for 2 shifts per week which, being a solo mother, has got me through. You are now dictating that I can only have 1 shift a week, no consultation, nothing, just suddenly turned up on my roster. I can’t live on 1 shift a week.”
Unite Union which represents Ms Alpine says she has worked their busiest weekend shifts regularly for 11 years. Unite National Director Mike Treen says “hey have given no reason for the change except vague assertions about the need for flexibility.”
“The company has claimed that they only want to change the days she worked but this is a lie” says Mr Treen. “They simply cut her shifts from two to one and she didn’t find out about the change until she saw the roster.”
The company refused to reinstate the shift at a meeting with Ms Alpine and Unite Union representatives this afternoon.
“To rub salt in the wounds they made a not so veiled threat that she could be disciplined for speaking to the media about the issue” said Mr Treen.
“Hi my name’s Carolyn Alpine, I’m a shareholder. I’m also a front line staff so I might put a face to the front line staff. I want to thank you for your, um… I’m probably going to have to sell my house. I’ve been an employee for 15 years, [starts crying] I’ve been part time for 11 years, working for 2 shifts per week which, being a solo mother, has got me through. You are now dictating that I can only have 1 shift a week, no consultation, nothing, just suddenly turned up on my roster. I can’t live on 1 shift a week. I thank you for the shares, they come from a previous scheme that SkyCity ran for us so you see so I haven’t actually paid for these so thank you for those. But I just want to let you know that front line staff are not happy. I don’t know what to say because I’m just so upset at the things that you’re doing to your front line staff now. There’s nothing…I’m having a meeting with HR when I leave here. I’m not expecting anything to change because they are so adamant that that is all they’re doing. That’s all I’ve got to say”
Although SkyCity said it prided itself on being a leading employer, one staff member stood up at the annual meeting to complain of having her shifts reduced from two a week to one without consultation, which could mean she had to sell her Auckland house.
The solo mother, Carolyn Alpine is a table games supervisor and has worked for SkyCity for more than 15 years. She said several other staff members had also had similar treatment.
She already had a scheduled meeting with the group’s human resources this afternoon and SkyCity said the proposal was to change the days she worked rather than reduce the number of shifts. Morrison said the staff member would be treated fairly, but the company had to ensure it had flexibility in its gaming operations to run efficiently and meet market demand.
Another shareholder Lynne Webber suggested the directors could forgo their proposed $65,000 or 5 percent increase in fees and apply it to some of the group’s lower paid workers. Chairman Chris Moller said that would be something he’d discuss with fellow directors.


  1. And this statement from the same article in the NZH, from Carolyn Alpine …

    “I’m not happy. My part-time hours were cut from two days to one day with no consultation,” she told the annual meeting in Auckland which also voted to increase directors’ total fees by $65,000 to $1,365,000.”

    A $65,000 increase for directors!!!! WTF????

    Obscene in the extreme!

    Good luck Carolyn and thank you drawing attention to your situation.

    An example of what’s to come for workers no doubt, with the looming changes to the Employment Act!

    Perhaps it’s time for us ordinary folk to take to the streets!

  2. i wonder how hoskins and all the other given money by sky (not sure what it is actually for even) would like to be told they were down to 2 nights a week, and faced losing their homes, and lifestyles?
    They are colluding with this style of employment, and inadvertently saying it’s fine to treat people like slaves….as long as it’s not them

    • Year end June 2014 $98 million Net Profit after Tax reported. Obviously struggling.
      I can think of so many lawful ways to upset SKC’s op. With behaviour such as theirs I think it may be time to react people. Start with a picket. Uncooperative patrons are such a pain. Have a meal and chunder in the dining room. Hide a fish behind the cistern. Let them know why.

  3. Having said that, zero hours contracts are all the rage in the UK, so perhaps we are lucky in NZ??! Or do we need to prepare for the final insult to workers supporting this rich mans economy?

  4. I read this article with concern albeit its in the Herald so who knows what is real and what is not. I am betting the share holders got annoyed by this interruption to their meeting.

    Clearly to SkyCity and most especially their shareholders see an employee as one who is lucky to be treated with contempt versus the alternative of not caring less about you.

    Even if she got so called “Consultation” its more than ever, nowadays, a one way street. They (the employer) tell you, this is what is happening and if you don’t like it leave!

    The move to “flexibility” is all about profit and showing the employee who owns them and that’s it. It makes for a bloody awful work environment and it quickly turns into a corrosive low productive hell hole with resentment galore and high staff turnover. So in respect of “flexibility” I know it’s counter productive and a great indicator of employers who see their staff as nothing more than a cold logistical piece of meat that is to be deployed where and when they see fit.

    This country is moving into a growing storm of ugly work practices with some arsehole employers who are strengthened by NZ voters tick of approval for this government. And its got to get worse over the next 3 years.

  5. That’s what you get when you vote in another govt made up of people whose main aim is to make their rich friends and themselves even richer. Time voters in this country got thd message that we all will suffer for their blue tick on the voting paper.

  6. Want to congratulate Carolyn for speaking up and wish her all the best. Flexibility is an idiot argument. What they ideally want (and maybe already doing) is getting people to pay to go to work and then if it is ‘not busy’ terminate their shift. Surprisingly it may get busy later so then the idea is to ring them up and ask them ‘to come in again’. The wages in between is therefore saved. Again another cost borne by the employee. Perhaps her drop to one shift is also because she is in a union and questioned the policy? How can you get a mortgage without a guaranteed wage? It is making an underclass of an already underclass employee. How much more power can be taken? It is like slavery but slaves were fed and housed by their owners – unfortunately the pittance that employees will earn under ‘flexible’ schemes will not be enough to do even that in Auckland.

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