Members from associations representing casino workers in Macau have called on the city’s government to persuade casino operators to raise salaries.
The issue was discussed during a Monday meeting with the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, Portuguese-language newspaper Jornal Tribuna de Macau reported. Mr Leong’s portfolio includes supervision of Macau’s gaming industry and of labour affairs.
Only Sands China Ltd has so far publicly announced pay rises this year, starting this month.
Eligible Sands China full-time employees earning up to MOP12,000 (US$1,500) per month will receive a pay increase of MOP500 per month. The casino operator has said it represents an increase of between 4 percent and 6 percent per month for workers in that wage bracket.
Those eligible Sands China’s employees earning more than MOP12,000 per month will receive an average increment of 2 percent, with a monthly ceiling of MOP45,000 after the salary increase, the firm has said.
Macau’s six casino operators have all announced staff bonuses for 2016 – in some cases, under programmes previously disclosed prior to the ongoing slump in casino gross gaming revenue (GGR), which started in June 2014.
The Macau government has promised a 2.5-percent increase for the city’s public servants in 2016.
Choi Kam Fu, director general of the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association, said that during Monday’s meeting with Mr Leong, casino worker representatives called on the government to sway the five other casino operators in the city to raise salaries for 2016, Jornal Tribuna de Macau reported.
Mr Choi added that Mr Leong vowed to pass on the concerns from casino staff representatives to the gaming operators.
The Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association is affiliated with the influential Macau Federation of Trade Unions, the city’s largest labour group.
The association, and two other groups representing casino workers, in January delivered letters to Macau’s casino operators calling for salary increases and bonuses in 2016.
Worker representatives argue that, despite the lacklustre performance of the city’s casino industry, a salary increase would not add too much pressure to the finances of gaming firms. Investment analysts however have suggested that rising labour costs would weigh on Macau casino operators’ margins, as the operators grapple with the gambling market downturn.
Data from the city’s gaming regulator show that GGR for full-year 2015 stood at MOP230.84 billion, down 34.3 percent compared to 2014.
During Monday’s meeting with Mr Leong, worker representatives also highlighted the need for casinos to raise work-related subsidies and improve worker insurance coverage, Mr Choi said, quoted by Jornal Tribuna de Macau.
Other issues discussed included the provision of more training and of promotion opportunities to frontline casino staff, Mr Choi added.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings