The Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association – a labour group affiliated with the influential Macau Federation of Trade Unions – has urged casino operators to increase the salaries of employees this year, reported local media.
Choi Kam Fu, director general of the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association, said the association had joined efforts with two other groups representing casino workers to deliver letters to Macau’s six casino operators calling for salary increases and bonuses in 2016.
Public broadcaster TDM quoted Mr Choi saying that salaries were not casino operators’ biggest operational cost, which meant that a salary increase would not add too much pressure to the finances of gaming firms. Despite the lacklustre performance of the city’s casino industry, revenues were still high and companies were still posting a profit, he added.
Monthly gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau has been decreasing since June 2014 as measured in year-on-year terms. Data from the city’s gaming regulator show that GGR for full-year 2015 stood at MOP230.84 billion (US$28.9 billion), down 34.3 percent compared to 2014.
On Tuesday, casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd confirmed to media outlets in Macau that it would pay a one-month bonus to its Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace employees ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday period, which this year starts on February 7. The firm said the bonus covered 98 percent of its current 8,000 workforce, excluding only senior management.
The bonus is part of a programme previously announced by the firm. Wynn Macau implemented in 2014 a guaranteed annual bonus to non-senior management equating to two months of salary. The casino operator has said that its bonus programme would continue into 2017.
The company however made no mention to a salary increase for 2016. Wynn Macau announced a 5-percent pay rise last year for most of its workforce.
Macau market rival SJM Holdings Ltd said earlier this month it was retaining its bonus scheme in 2016. The casino firm stated it would offer an annual bonus that is equivalent to two months of salary for employees earning up to MOP20,000 per month, according to an internal notice to employees.
Workers with monthly salaries above that level would be entitled to an annual bonus equivalent to 1.5 times their monthly wage or MOP40,000, whatever is higher.
SJM Holdings’ memo did not mention whether the firm would increase employee salaries in 2016. Chief executive Ambrose So Shu Fai said last week the firm would still discuss the issue of increasing staff wages in 2016 after taking into consideration the company’s operational results, reported newspaper Macau Business Daily.
No Macau-based casino operator has yet publicly announced staff pay rises for 2016. Investment analysts have suggested that rising labour costs would weigh on Macau casino operators’ margins, as the operators grapple with the gambling market downturn.
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Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd