At least two Macau gaming labour groups have urged the city’s casino operators to award casino staff a pay rise for 2018, claiming such a move is needed to cover local inflation and to share with the staff the operators’ “rising earnings” at a time when Macau gaming revenue has returned to consistent growth.
One group calling for the pay increment is Power of the Macao Gaming Association, the representatives of which delivered a petition to the Macau government headquarters on Wednesday. It asked the administration to urge the city’s casino operators to award their staff a pay rise in the range of “5 percent to 8 percent” for 2018.
“…Macau’s gaming industry has already returned to a growth track and the Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong [Vai Tac] has also mentioned before that the city’s gross gaming revenue would continue to expand next year. So we think that the casino operators should share their increasing earnings with the staff,” director of Power of the Macao Gaming Association, Lei Iok Po, told GGRAsia.
“We’ve expressed this call to the chief executive because remuneration policy should be a part of the casino operators’ corporate responsibilities. And this should be a factor for consideration by our [Macau's] Chief Executive when mulling the new public tender for the gaming concessions,” Mr Lei added, referring to what might happen after the six current licences expire on various dates in either 2020 or 2022.
The proposed base level of the 2018 pay increment Mr Lei’s group has proposed for the industry is higher than the base level offered by employers across the local sector this year, although the upper range of percentage increase proposed for 2018 is below what some workers achieved in 2017. This year the pay rise offers of the city’s six casino operators ranged from 2 percent to 9.1 percent, effective from either March or April.
In January this year, Macau-based casino operator Sands China Ltd had announced an average pay increment of between 2 percent and 2.5 percent for its employees that were earning more than MOP12,000 (US$1,486) per month; those that were earning up to MOP12,000 per month received an increase of at least 5 percent, effective from March 1.
In March, Wynn Macau Ltd announced an average increase of 2.5 percent for those earning above MOP16,000 per month, also effective from March 1; for those earning a maximum of MOP16,000 per month would receive a pay increase of MOP500 per month, equivalent to an increment of between 3 percent and 6.5 percent.
Also in March, MGM China Holdings Ltd announced of an increase of 2.5 percent in wages for team members earning above MOP16,000 per month, effective from March 20; the increment in the range of 3 percent to 7 percent was applied to those that were earning up to MOP16,000 per month.
Under its 2017 settlement, employees of Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd that were earning a monthly income of up to MOP16,000 were entitled to receive an increase of between 3 percent to 7 percent; while those that were earning more than MOP16,000 per month were entitled to an increment equal to 2.5 percent of their existing salary, effective from April 1.
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd has announced that it was paying its team members a performance-based salary adjustment ranging from 2.5 percent to 5.5 percent, effective from April. Fellow Macau-based casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd has also stated that it was awarding its workers a pay hike in the range between 2.5 percent and 9.1 percent, also effective from April.
Cloee Chao, director of another gaming labour group, Professional for Gaming of New Macau, has proposed an “at least 6-percent” pay hike for casino workers, giving reasons similar to those expressed by Mr Lei.
For the 12 months to October 31 this year, the average composite consumer price index in Macau increased by 1.16 percent from the previous period, according to data released by the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
“We also think that the casino operators should consider offering housing allowance to local workers, just as they have been giving to migrant workers. Resident workers too are suffering from increasing rental pressure,” Ms Chao told GGRAsia.
The existing rules in Macau oblige all companies either to provide housing to their migrant workers or pay them a monthly housing allowance of at least MOP500. The amount was set in 2010.
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"The MSAR [Macau Special Administrative Region] Government is always maintaining its policy not to have imported labour to work as dealers. This position has not changed"
Lionel Leong Vai Tac
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance