Members of the UK’s union Unite employed by Grosvenor Casinos are to be balloted for strike in a dispute over pay raises. The who are based at the company’s central London casinos are balloting as a result of what the union calls a pay cut disguised as a pay increase.

The company is offering to raise the wages of its lowest paid staff to the London Living Wage of GBP 11.20 an hour. However, the union argues that staff who are paid more than that hourly are only being offered a 4.3% increase, which Unite alleges is a substantial pay cut with the real inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 11.8%. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “ Casinos is very wealthy – with its holding company making bumper £40 million profits last year. Casinos caters for some of the richest clients in the world. Its success is based on the services offered by staff and they fully deserve a decent pay deal. Our members at the company will receive Unite’s total support until they receive a pay offer which meets their expectations.”

The rates of pay are considered particularly low given that much of the work involves unsociable hours and late-night working, Unite officials further argue. The ballot opens on Tuesday, 2 and closes on Tuesday, 23. If the vote for industrial then strikes could begin in September.

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Despite the pandemic and lockdowns affecting income, Grosvenor Casinos’ parent company Rank Group remains profitable and is expected to record a profit of GBP 40 million this year, according to the union.

Unite national officer Dave Turnbull added: If vote for strike it will inevitably cause huge disruption across the company’s operations but this dispute is entirely of Grosvenor Casinos own making. Even at this late stage strike action can still be averted if Grosvenor Casinos returns to the negotiating table and makes a realistic pay offer to our members.”

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