Will Australian Billionaire resolve Palace Casino strike in Edmonton?

In a letter sent today to James D. Packer, Executive Chairman of PBL Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd. - the Australian publishing, broadcasting and gambling giant - the Alberta Federation of Labour has asked the Australian billionaire to resolve the seven month old labour dispute at the Palace Casino in Edmonton.

"I have simply asked Mr. Packer to look at this dispute in a cool, dispassionate business way," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "His company has just acquired the Palace Casino along with the other assets of the Gateway Casinos Income Fund, and we are hoping that a fresh approach by the new ownership can break this deadlock."

In the letter, McGowan pointed out just how badly the strike has affected the financial picture at the Palace Casino. "I informed Mr. Packer about the massive $3.5 million drop in revenue from Palace in the fourth quarter - which coincides with the beginning of the strike," notes McGowan. "Operating earnings during the period fell from $2.167 million to a loss of $.582 million - a drop of 126.9%."

"What should be a flagship of his new Canadian holdings is actually a drag on profits because of the strike," says McGowan. "I suggested to Mr. Packer that he could restore good will in Edmonton and make the Palace Casino profitable by encouraging management to reach a fair and equitable settlement with the striking members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401."

"I believe that any businessperson as successful Mr. Packer will not let this situation continue to impact his operations," concludes McGowan.


For more information contact:

Gil McGowan, President Bus: (780) 483-3021 Cell: (780) 218-9888


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