A group claiming to represent Macau gaming workers delivered a petition to the Macau government headquarters on Thursday, calling on the administration to urge the city’s casino operators to award casino staff a pay rise for 2017.
The activist body – which refers to itself as Professional for Gaming of New Macau – is led by Cloee Chao. Ms Chao, described as director of the group, told GGRAsia it seeks a 5 percent pay increase for gaming workers for the coming year.
“We’re petitioning to the government, because it is responsible for supervising the gaming concessionaires, as well as how they are doing in terms of the remuneration policy for the workers here,” Ms Chao told us prior to the delivery of the petition.
She said her association had about 900 members, mostly casino table game dealers and supervisors.
“This year, except Sands China, no gaming companies here have so far awarded any salary increase to the employees,” she added, referring to Sands China Ltd, one of Macau’s six licensed casino operators.
“So considering that [fact] – as well as Macau’s inflation level – we’re proposing that the gaming workers should enjoy a 5 percent increase in salary by next year,” added Ms Chao.
Last week several labour groups in the city – including Ms Chao’s – told GGRAsia that they expected at the very least a 2017 pay hike to cover inflation.
For the 12 months to October 31, the average composite consumer price index in Macau increased by 2.75 percent from the previous period, according to data released by the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
Macau casino operator Sands China publicly confirmed in February a 2016 pay rise for its staff, effective on March 1. The firm’s eligible employees earning more than MOP12,000 (US$1,502) per month would receive an average increment of 2 percent, with a monthly wage ceiling of MOP45,000 after the salary increase, according to the firm’s announcement at the time.
For eligible full-time employees earning up to MOP12,000 per month, they would receive a pay increase of MOP500 per month – an increment representing between 4 percent and 6 percent for workers in that wage bracket, according to Sands China’s announcement.
The average monthly earnings of gaming workers in Macau – as measured in June – were the highest since records began, according to the data released in August by the statistics bureau. Overall, Macau gaming workers enjoyed monthly average earnings – excluding bonuses – of MOP22,060 (US$2,758) in June, an increase of 2.7 percent in year-on-year terms, the official data indicated.
So far, no gaming companies in Macau have publicly announced plans for salary increases in 2017. Angela Leong On Kei, an executive director of Macau-based casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, told media at a company event on November 15 that its board was yet to discuss whether or not to raise its employees’ pay for next year. Ms Leong is also a member of Macau’s Legislative Assembly.
Apart from the demand for a salary hike, Ms Chao’s gaming worker group is also calling for a work insurance scheme to cover each gaming employee’s daily journey between home and workplace and back.
“We’ve noticed that the gaming companies here, except Wynn Macau [Ltd] and MGM Macau [MGM China Holdings Ltd], all have this kind of work insurance plan [covering daily commute] in place for their workers,” said Ms Chao. “So we’d also like to push this proposal again [via the government], which we’ve put forward to Wynn and MGM two years ago but nothing came through.”
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings