Labour activist group Forefront of the Macao Gaming claims over 1,000 employees from Macau-based gaming operator SJM Holdings Ltd on Saturday joined a ‘work to rule’ protest at the firm’s casino hotel Grand Lisboa (pictured).
The figure was estimated by group president Ieong Man Teng, quoted by Macau’s public broadcaster TDM. It included about 600 workers collectively taking sick leave, he said.
The protest plan included some staff working to rule, some reporting late and some calling in sick.
The day’s action involved dealers, pit supervisors and pit managers, according to organisers.
The industrial protest targeted Grand Lisboa’s owner and operator SJM Holdings. The firm has yet to issue any comment on the action.
SJM Holdings casino staff are calling for a 10-percent salary increase and changes to promotion policies.
Members of the Forefront of the Macao Gaming claimed that the gaming operator on Saturday moved workers from some of its other casinos in Macau to Grand Lisboa, the group’s flagship property. It is thought the management’s goal was to prevent any disruption in operations caused by the protest. Weekends are usually peak times for gambling in the city’s casinos.
Forefront of the Macao Gaming had considered organising an all-out strike at Grand Lisboa, but dropped the idea because it would have had “too much impact” on the industry, Cloee Chao, secretary general of labour activist group told GGRAsia on Saturday.
She added some Grand Lisboa employees were willing to carry on with the work to rule protest until SJM Holdings met their demands.
The grouping last month organised a demonstration outside the human resources offices of SJM Holdings to protest against the company’s pay and promotion policies.
Meanwhile, SJM Holdings has announced living subsidy increases for its staff starting from next year, TDM reported on Friday.
The gaming operator said it would award its employees annual subsidies equal to either 1.5 or two months of their monthly salary. The measure would be effective until 2020, the public broadcaster said.
One of the demands of the Forefront of the Macao Gaming was for staff to receive 14 months of pay per calendar year.
The labour activist group has organised several worker protests on the streets since July on issues linked to pay and conditions in the Macau casino industry. The latest – targeting all six casino operators – took place last week. The group estimated that about 7,000 people participated in the demonstration, although police put the attendance at around 1,400 people.
Other outdoor demonstrations organised by the labour activists have targeted individual gaming operators – not only SJM Holdings but also against Sands China Ltd and against Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
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”I don’t see this project [Lisboeta Macau] will just go for the existing market clientele. The clientele I’m going for is… family [travellers]. This is a four-star resort and the pricing will be benchmarked against other four-star hotels in Cotai.”
Director of Macau Theme Park and Resort