A group of about 200 casino workers from Macau-based gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd on Monday met with representatives from the city’s Labour Affairs Bureau to complain about the company’s pay and benefit policies.
MGM China owns and operates casino hotel MGM Macau (pictured) on the peninsula. It is building a large-scale casino resort in Cotai, due to open in 2016.
During the meeting, workers also grumbled about what they think are likely working conditions once the smoking ban on casino mass floors goes into effect next month, public broadcaster TDM reported.
According to the new rules, casino operators can ask to set up smoking areas with gaming tables and slot machines on non-main floor zones “that are of limited access to specific games and gamblers”. This is understood to cover not only VIP rooms but also premium mass gambling areas when they are isolated from main floors.
MGM China workers say the new smoking areas lack enough ventilation. They also fear the company will allocate a disproportionate number of labour-intensive live gaming tables to those areas, and use more electronic gaming machines on the casino main floor – some of these machines allow a single dealer to serve many more players than traditional table games.
The MGM workers, backed by labour activist group Forefront of the Macao Gaming, are threatening further action if their demands are not met.
Representatives from the Labour Affairs Bureau told workers the bureau would contact MGM China about the complaints and look for a solution, TDM reported.
The public broadcaster also quoted a statement from MGM China in which the gaming operator said it would continue to engage in an “open and positive” dialogue with its workers to reach a deal.
Forefront of the Macao Gaming has organised several worker protests since July on issues linked to pay and conditions in the Macau casino industry. A march targeting all six casino operators took place last month. The group estimated that about 7,000 people participated in the demonstration, although police put the attendance at around 1,400 people.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China