Casino company gets hard ride from shareholders at its AGM.

A sobbing SkyCity Entertainment Group employee told hundreds of shareholders of the raw deal the company had dealt her after 15 years of employment in Auckland.

Caroline Alpine, a table games supervisor, cried openly at the microphone as she told how she was a solo mother who was extremely unhappy with new employment arrangements, having started at the casino in April 1999 but given new terms which she had not agreed to, resulting in less pay.

Although she said she didn't expect anything to change, she wanted to make people aware of her plight.

"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.


Nigel Morrison, chief executive and managing director, addressed her.

"We try to be a very good employer. I am sure occasionally things are not done quite as well as we would like but we still take your point," he said, having said earlier the business employed 6500 people here and in Australia, paid $280 million in salaries and benefits, 1400 new jobs were created from July 1 last year in Auckland and more than 150,000 job seekers had registered with the company.

Shareholder Lynn Webber encouraged the board to reject the pay rise, cited Alpine's case and said she was sure directors did not work 60-hour weeks. But director Brent Harman said directors had not had a pay rise since 2011 and shareholders had indicated an appetite for smaller, more regular rises.

Alpine said she hoped her trouble would be resolved: "I'm going to a meeting after this with a HR person," she said.

SkyCity said today it had not reduced Alpine's shifts, adding that it had simply changed staff rosters to better reflect the times when the casino was busy.

It stressed that it had consulted with Alpine.

"As a company with 6500 staff we take employee relations extremely seriously and are very proud of our status as an employer of choice. We believe our 2013 consultation process was carried out fairly and reasonably,'' a spokesman for SkyCity said.

"One staff member has voiced her dissatisfaction with the outcome and so we are in the process of talking through her concerns as we would with any other employee. We hope we will be able to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all concerned."


Webber, an accountant and lawyer, questioned the board about the company's poor financial performance, saying earnings per share had dropped.

But chairman Chris Moller blamed the unfavourable exchange rate and disruption from the Adelaide redevelopment.

John Hawkins, Shareholders Association chairman, also criticised earnings per share and asked when the company's BBB- Standard and Poors rating would improve.

Morrison said the rating was "actually pretty good for a business like us" but capital expenditure planned over the next four to five years was significant so an upgrade was unlikely.

"But we're a yield stock. We want to do some transformational projects and then we want to be a yield stock again," he said.

Other shareholders complained SkyCity was seen as a share to quit but Morrison told the meeting of a strong first-half, with revenue up 6 per cent.

The Auckland business had once again been the standout performer, its first-half revenue up 12 per cent.

The business had recorded normalised revenue in the first half of the June 2015 year of $250.3 million, up on the $236.4 million in the previous corresponding period, he said.

International business turnover grew 41.2 per cent and Morrison cited Chinese customers.

Resource consent for the international convention centre would be applied for "once agreement of preliminary design is reached with the Crown".

Shares in SkyCity closed up 10c yesterday at $3.57.