A group of casino workers from Macau-based gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd is reportedly meeting on Monday (September 15) with the city’s Labour Affairs Bureau to complain about the company’s pay policies.
The workers, led by labour activist group Forefront of the Macao Gaming, are however ruling out for now any sort of street protest, public broadcaster Radio Macau reported.
When contacted by GGRAsia, MGM China declined to comment.
One of the demands of the workers is wage increases for all casino staff, Cloee Chao, secretary general of Forefront of the Macao Gaming, told Radio Macau.
Workers are also grumbling about what they think are likely working conditions once the smoking ban on casino mass floors goes into effect next month.
According to the new rules, casino operators can ask to set up smoking areas with gaming tables and slot machines on non-main floor zones “that are of limited access to specific games and gamblers”. This is understood to cover not only VIP rooms but also premium mass gambling areas when they are isolated from main floors.
The Forefront of the Macao Gaming has meanwhile scheduled a protest on Saturday against another Macau casino operator – SJM Holdings Ltd. It is protesting against the company’s pay and promotion policies.
The labour activist group, which has been successful in organising several street demonstrations, has previously called for a 10-percent salary increase across the casino industry for non-managerial positions, especially for dealers.
The average monthly earnings for dealers at Macau casinos increased by 4.8 percent year-on-year to MOP17,530 (US$2,196) at the end of June this year, according to official data.
As competition for labour grows ahead of the new casino resort openings in Cotai, all gaming operators are reporting double-digit increases in staff costs, their latest interim earnings reports show. However, casino firms say the increase “is still manageable”, stated a note on Friday by Hong Kong-based analysts at Credit Suisse AG.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau