Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd on Monday announced a pay bonus and share award to encourage staff at senior manager grade and below to stay with the company until the end of 2017.
The announcement came shortly after reports that a local labour association – Forefront of the Macao Gaming – planned to stage a demonstration on Tuesday outside Galaxy Macau (pictured), the company’s flagship Cotai property. The labour group is not calling off the protest, which will take place tomorrow afternoon, a representative of the association told GGRAsia.
The workers are asking the Hong Kong-listed company to increase salaries, introduce changes to pay policies, and provide staff with more annual leave days and better career prospects.
On Monday afternoon the company said its new pay increase and share award announcement was timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of operations in Macau and would be effective from August 1.
Under the new arrangement, all full-time team members at senior manager grade and below will be awarded company shares equal to three times their salary in August 2014 and known as a ‘Special Share Award’. A cash bonus equivalent to one month’s salary will be issued on July 2015 and 2016 as a ‘Special Bonus Award’.
The share award becomes active, or is ‘vested’, on December 31, 2017.
“All shares will be lapsed if you leave employment on or before the vesting date,” states an internal memo from Eileen Lui, the group’s human resources and administration director.
The document indicates that the share value will be based on the price as of August 1, 2014, the date of the award.
The memo adds of the salary component of the offer: “Your bonuses will be forfeited if you leave employment or in separation notice on or before the payment date.”
It adds that new team members joining after August 1, 2014 will receive the Special Bonus Award and Special Share Award on a pro rata basis.
Those employed via flexi-work, part-time, on a temporary basis, as entertainers, contractors, consultants, or on special project development; or working for the hotel brands JW Marriott Macau and Ritz-Carlton Macau to be added in Galaxy Macau Phase 2 – an approximately US$2.9 billion project due to launch early next year – will not be eligible.
“For several months, Galaxy Entertainment has been working on the implementation of the salary alignment and the Special Reward Programme in hopes to express our heartfelt gratitude to all team members for their valuable contributions,” added the firm.
Galaxy Entertainment said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday that the aggregate of the shares awarded but not yet vested under the Share Award Scheme and the total number of shares which may be issued upon exercise of all outstanding options – must not exceed 30 percent of the shares “in issue from time to time”.
As at December 31, 2013, the group, excluding associated companies and joint ventures, employed approximately 16,000 people in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, according to its 2013 annual report.
Labour relations between casino managements and staff in Macau – the city currently has an unemployment rate of only 1.7 percent – have had several flashpoints this year.
In January, staff at the SJM Holdings Ltd-licensed Emperor Palace Casino at the Grand Emperor hotel held a work-to-rule action on two consecutive days over a disagreement about salaries and bonuses.
And on July 24, Forefront of the Macao Gaming organised a march outside Sands China Ltd’s the Venetian Macao and Four Seasons Macao, calling for improvements to pay and conditions. The group claimed it had 1,500 people taking part. Police estimated the crowd at 900-strong.
(Update at 8.39pm)
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"People are still pretty reserved in their [gaming] spending. And what the [junket] sector faces now is that the collection of [gaming] debt is difficult"
Kwok Chi Chung
President of the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters