Hundreds of workers from SJM Holdings Ltd took to the streets on Saturday to demand higher wages.
The protest, organised by a group of people describing themselves as SJM Holdings workers and backed by labour activist group Forefront of the Macao Gaming, included a march around the Lisboa (pictured) and Grand Lisboa casino hotels, SJM Holdings’ flagship properties. It did not include however any strike.
Organisers said that about 700 people took part in the demonstration. The police estimated the crowd at 470 people.
The protesters were wearing black T-shirts stating, “I am an SJM employee”. The move came after executives from SJM Holdings said that the majority of the people attending previous protests against the company were not on its payroll.
SJM Holdings had approximately 21,700 full-time employees as of end-June, the company said in its interim results statement.
The march ended with the group delivering a letter with their demands to an SJM Holdings representative. The company has yet to issue any official comment on recent labour demonstrations.
Workers decided to go ahead with the new protest after claiming they had seen no obvious signs of progress regarding their demands. Those conditions include a salary increase of 10 percent across the board for non-managerial casino floor staff and several changes to promotion policies.
SJM workers had held a meeting with the government’s Labour Affairs Bureau on September 5, asking it to step in and mediate a deal between both parties.
Prior to that, Forefront of the Macao Gaming promoted on August 30 a work-to-rule protest at casino hotel Grand Lisboa. The group claimed more than 1,000 employees joined. The figure included about 600 workers collectively taking sick leave.
The grouping on August 14 organised a demonstration outside the human resources offices of SJM Holdings to protest against the company’s pay and promotion policies.
Forefront of the Macao Gaming is threatening more protests against SJM Holdings if worker demands are not fulfilled.
Meanwhile, a group of casino workers from Macau-based gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd is reportedly meeting on Monday with the Labour Affairs Bureau to complain about the company’s pay policies. The workers, also backed by Forefront of the Macao Gaming according to the activist group, are however ruling out for now any sort of street protest, public broadcaster Radio Macau reported.
The labour grouping 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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”We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1 billion market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from US$150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of US$10 billion to US$17 billion”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia