Casino walkout forces talks
By Paul
Melbourne's Crown Casino will negotiate with staff over pay on Wednesday, after a mass walkout on Friday night closed half the gaming tables in the casino.

The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union says up to 1000 casino staff stopped work between 5pm and 9pm on Friday in protest over pay and conditions.

The union wants pay increases of 20% over three years, but Crown is holding firm on its 10.25% offer.

'We expect there to be movement at the meeting on Wednesday,' Acting union assistant secretary Connie De Nino said.

Crown spokesman Gary O'Neill insisted that the walkout would not influence the casino’s pay offer.

'There is no motivation on our part to reward industrial activity,' he said.

Contingency plans meant that VIP areas such as the Mahogany Room, Teak Room, Oak Room and all of Crown's 30 restaurants and 17 bars remained open, O'Neill said.

The Australasian Poker Championship at the casino, involving about 200 players from around the world, was also unaffected, he said.

However, on the main gaming floor about half of the tables were closed.

'Business was disrupted for a short period of time but key areas of the business continued to operate,' O'Neill said.

Ms De Nino said the union would take further, legally protected industrial action if Wednesday's talks failed.

About 2700 of Crown's 4000 staff, including hospitality, security and gaming workers, are members of the union.

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