At least two Macau gaming labour groups will petition the Macau government for a full smoking ban in casinos, in separate activities planned for May 1, which in Macau is known as Labour Day.
The groups include: the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association, a labour group affiliated with the influential Macau Federation of Trade Unions; and Forefront of Macao Gaming. The latter group is also planning to organise a march on May 1, a representative told GGRAsia.
Both groups are in favour of banning completely any smoking inside the city’s casinos.
Smoking on casino main floors in Macau is currently only allowed in airport-style enclosed smoking lounges that do not contain any gaming tables or slot machines. Having a cigarette while gambling is at present still allowed in VIP rooms.
“Even now that we have smoking lounges on the mass gaming floors, we still see cases of clients smoking at the [gaming] tables instead of going to the lounges,” the director general of the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association, Choi Kam Fu, told GGRAsia.
“The companies are not always actively enforcing the smoking ban on mass [casino] floors, and we don’t expect the government to conduct effective inspections on gaming floors at all times,” Mr Choi added. “So we’re not confident that allowing smoking lounges can really protect the health of workers.”
The Macau Gaming Enterprises’ Staff’s Association head said that the group hoped to get the support of enough legislators on the matter. A working committee of Macau’s Legislative Assembly is currently analysing a bill that proposes banning any smoking inside the city’s casinos.
The two gaming labour groups on May 1 will also voice their concerns regarding the protection of employment rights of locals.
“Although the economy now in Macau is not very good and the gaming industry has entered an adjustment phase, we are stressing that local worker employment [rights] should be protected at times like these, in particular for entry-level workers,” Forefront of Macao Gaming president Ieong Man Teng told GGRAsia.
“We will also urge casino operators to announce pay rises for staff. We’re not asking to have a big pay rise but at least at a level that can ease pressure from inflation,” Mr Ieong added. “So far only Sands China Ltd has announced a pay rise for its staff this year.”
Sands China stated in February that, effective on March 1, eligible full-time employees earning up to MOP12,000 (US$1,500) per month would receive a pay increase of MOP500 per month. The casino operator said it represented an increase of between 4 percent and 6 percent per month for workers in that wage bracket. The firm’s eligible employees earning more than MOP12,000 per month would receive an average increment of 2 percent, with a monthly ceiling of MOP45,000 after the salary increase, Sands China said at the time.
The two labour groups on May 1 also plan to petition the government for changes to casino staff leave policies, improvements in worker insurance coverage and for more training and of promotion opportunities.
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