At least three Macau gaming labour groups say they want the city’s gaming operators to award casino resort staff a pay rise of at least 3 percent for 2019. They claim the firms would have the capacity to do so and should share with such workers the casinos’ earnings achieved so far.
One group calling for the pay increment is Power of the Macao Gaming Association. Speaking to GGRAsia, the group’s vice president Eason Ian Iu Chong said his organisation would like to see the city’s casino operators award their staff a pay increase in the range of “3 percent to 6 percent” for 2019, a move that he claimed was needed to help the staff cope with local inflation.
“Our worker members are still keeping their ears open, and of course a pay increment is what they hope for… Now, Macau’s economy is at least better than a few years ago when the gaming slump hit, so we think the casino operators should raise our salary and boost workers’ morale,” Mr Ian remarked to us. The labour group claims to have 1,800 members that work at casinos in positions such as gaming operations, security work, food and beverage operations and hotels.
Macau’s average composite consumer price index for the 12 months to October this year rose by 2.81 percent from the previous period, according to the latest data from the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
The Macau government proposed in mid-November a 3.5 percent increase in local civil servants’ salaries, effective from January. That recommendation is to be discussed in the city’s Legislative Assembly.
Macau’s six casino operators announced in the first quarter this year their 2018 pay increments for workers. The pay hikes ranged between 2.5 percent and about 8 percent of monthly salary for their eligible employees this year. Choi Kam Fu, director general of the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association, said his group would urge the operators to award for 2019 “no less than this year”.
“We felt that as Macau’s economy is doing fine and the gaming industry here still has quite an optimistic outlook, the [gaming] firms should have the conditions to award their staff a share of their earnings in forms of pay hikes and bonuses,” said Mr Choi, whose worker group is an affiliate of Macau’s traditionalist labour group, the Macao Federation of Trade Unions.
Cloee Chao, head of gaming labour activist group New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, also mentioned to GGRAsia it would urge the city’s casino operators to raise staff pay for next calendar year.
“During this month we are planning to deliver a petition to all of the six [gaming] operator firms and the government, saying that we would like to see a pay hike for workers next year,” Ms Chao told us. Her group claims approximately 500 members, and says that most of them are currently employed in gaming operation positions, such as those of card dealer.
“In the last couple of years the casinos have been awarding their dealers a pay hike of 2.5 percent [per year]. I don’t think it really eases that much the inflationary pressure here,” Ms Chao stated. “For next year we would ask for a pay hike of at least five percent for the gaming workers.”
By the second quarter of this year, there was a total of 56,271 full-time employees working in Macau gaming sector, according to the latest manpower survey released by the census service. The average monthly earnings of these employees in June – excluding bonuses – rose by 2.5 percent year-on-year to MOP23,650 (US$2,942).
There were 24,062 dealers employed during the second quarter, who were earning an average monthly pay of MOP20,450, representing a year-on-year increase of 2.6 percent.
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Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC