A Macau gaming labour activist group plans a demonstration passing by the city’s downtown casino district on Thursday (January 2) to call for better pay and conditions for local casino workers.
Under Macau rules, only local ID holders can be casino dealers. The organiser of the planned rally - New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association – called in November for the city’s six gaming operators to award their staff a pay hike of “at least 5 percent”. On Monday this week, Cloee Chao, the head of the activist group, told GGRAsia the demonstration was not only about money, but also concern about staff “health issues”.
The rally coincides with the start of a fresh government administration in Macau, under the new Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng. Mr Ho was sworn into office on December 20 during the visit to Macau by China’s President Xi Jinping, a date marking the 20th anniversary of the handover of Macau from Portuguese administration to that of China.
In September, New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association sent the then Chief Executive-elect Mr Ho a wish list of gaming worker needs, based on what it said was a survey among frontline workers.
The route for Thursday’s rally starts in the ZAPE district on Macau peninsula – close to where several major casino resorts including Wynn Macau, MGM Macau and StarWorld Hotel are located – and ends at the Macau government headquarters in Nam Van.
As well as a pay hike of at least 5 percent, the activist group is also calling for an annual bonus equating to two months of salary; the introduction of a mandatory allowance for working night shifts; and a “five working days” per week policy for staff on shifts, Ms Chao noted to us.
In recent years, Macau operators have been awarding annual salary increases to their staff, with the announcements made at the beginning of the calendar year. Most operators have also been making supplementary payments to staff on a twice-yearly basis in recent times, on an ad hoc basis.
“We also want 22-day annual leave,” Ms Chao told us on Monday. That is understood to be more holiday than the mandated under local labour law.
Macau workers are entitled to one rest day per week; 10 days of mandatory holidays and a minimum of six working days of annual leave after one year of service, according to local labour law.
“Many gaming workers are shift workers, and the existing holiday plan provided to them is too short,” the gaming labour activist told GGRAsia. “That pressurises family relations for these workers, as they don’t even have quality time to spend with their kids.”
Ms Chao said her group would gather signatures from casino workers turning out for Thursday’s demonstration, and submit them via a petition to be handed in at the government headquarters.
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