Hundreds of MGM China Holdings Ltd casino employees on Sunday protested for higher salaries and changes to the company’s bonus policies.
U.S.-based casino operator MGM Resorts International controls MGM China, which operates casino hotel MGM Macau (pictured) on the Macau peninsula. The firm is building a new casino resort in Cotai, Macau’s answer to the Las Vegas Strip.
The protest was officially called by a group of MGM China employees and was supported by labour activist group Forefront of the Macao Gaming. Organisers said about 500 people joined the demonstration, while the police put the figure at 240.
The workers demanded equal pay for equal work, saying that several dealers have also supervisor duties but are not paid accordingly. There were also calls for a full smoking ban inside casinos. Macau is enacting on October 6 a smoking ban in casinos but just in mass floor areas.
The demonstrators performed a small march around MGM Macau and delivered a letter to a company representative. Protest organisers said that if their demands were not met, they would consider organising new demonstrations during the upcoming National Day “Golden Week” holiday, starting on October 1 and traditionally a peak period for Macau’s casino industry.
A group of about 200 casino workers from MGM China had met with representatives from the city’s Labour Affairs Bureau on September 15 to complain about the company’s pay and benefit policies.
Forefront of the Macao Gaming has organised several worker protests since July on issues linked to pay and working conditions in the Macau casino industry.
A march targeting all six casino operators took place last month. The group estimated that about 7,000 people participated in the demonstration, although police put the attendance at around 1,400 people. Five leaders of Forefront of the Macao Gaming were recently charged with aggravated disobedience during the protest. In a press conference held last week, the group’s leadership said members now felt intimidated by the police.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China