Thousands of workers for Crown Resorts casinos in Melbourne and Perth have received a 5 percent pay increase after Australia’s United Workers Union negotiated a one-year deal for the 8,400 workers, with plans for a longer-term agreement to be signed later in the year.

According to the Financial Review, the pay rise is the highest agreement lodged in the final weeks of 2022, lifting the average wage increase of 51,012 staff to a high of 4.1 percent per year., as negotiated by the UWU for industry workers.

The wage increase is implemented under Crown’s new private equity owner Blackstone, which acquired Crown in its largest to-date transaction in Asia Pacific. Blackstone acquired Crown for roughly AU$8.9 billion ($6.28 billion) in June of last year. The agreement saw Blackstone take on Crown’s 20,000 team members.

The new pay rise is backdated to July 1st and comes close to the 6.1 percent inflation registered during the year ended June 30th, notes the publication.

The next round of negotiations is likely set for April or May, with claims likely to be above 5 percent.

Casino workers in Melbourne also won penalty rates under the deal, receiving a AU$6/hour allowance for night work on weekends and AU$3/hour for working daytime on weekends.

The penalty rate allowance is the first time such a grant has been made in 30 years.

The UWU’s casino director credited Blackstone for “good, honest and productive discussions that helped negotiations move much more quickly than they historically had”, notes the publication.

“It sets up staff-management relations for a more positive future,” noted the workers union rep.