A Macau gaming labour activist group delivered on Friday a letter addressed to the city’s Chief Executive, urging the local government to push Macau casino operators into awarding what the group termed a “mid-year” or “summer” bonus to local casino employees.
Cloee Chao (pictured), head of New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, and herself a table games worker, said in comments to local media on Friday, that most of the city’s casino operators had, since 2014, issued employee bonuses twice a year, in each instance equivalent to around one month of salary.
“According to what we saw in the past years, the casino operators usually announced in June their mid-year bonus payout to staff. But so far [this year], we didn’t hear anything of that,” Ms Chao stated after her group handed the letter in at government headquarters.
Macau’s gaming revenue “downward trend” this year, “this should not be an excuse,” for operators not to give a summer bonus, said Ms Chao. “The gaming operators are still earning huge profit, and they should give out bonuses to staff,” she added.
Macau’s monthly gross gaming revenue (GGR) returned to growth in May in year-on-year terms, after two consecutive months of contraction.
Macau GGR rose by 1.8 percent year-on-year in May, to approximately MOP25.95 billion (US$3.21 billion), according to data released by the city’s gaming regulator. The city’s GGR tally for the first five months of 2019 stood at about MOP125.69 billion, a year-on-year contraction of 1.6 percent.
Most Macau operators that have made supplementary payments to staff on a twice-yearly basis in recent times have announced so on an ad hoc basis, rather than as part of a stated or predetermined policy.
An exception is SJM Holdings Ltd, which has formalised such payments via what it terms a yearly “living subsidy” given to eligible staff in two instalments. The firm has pledged since the mechanism’s introduction in 2014 to maintain it until 2020. It has nonetheless restated the policy year-by-year. the payments are equivalent in aggregate to either one-and-a-half months of annual salary or two months of salary, depending on the worker concerned.
Ms Chao told local media on Friday that her group would consider petitioning the casino operators on its call for a “14-month salary”, or the payout of two bonuses a year, each equivalent to circa one month in salary.
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Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC