Association calls for salary protection in letter to CE

The New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, a local activist alliance, has implored the government to safeguard the wage entitlements of local casino workers, in a letter delivered on Friday to the city’s Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng.
The association called on Ho to launch an appeal to Macau’s six casino operators, encouraging them to dole out financial aid, including winter allowance, a bonus and a subsidy for daily expenses, to the staff who have endured the economic contraction associated with Covid-19.
In recent months, the fraternity of local casino workers have communicated concerns to the alliance, saying they are pinning their hopes on casino operators following the annual stipend custom in giving out bonuses to all staff ahead of this year’s Lunar New Year.
Before the pandemic, a casino worker used to receive a bonus twice yearly — namely the summer and winter bonuses — with each amounting to a month’s salary. The bonuses were handed out in the July-August period and before the Chinese New Year, respectively.
Cloee Chao, President of the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, recalled that only SJM Holdings Ltd, one of the six operators in the local gaming industry, had allotted the bonus to its employees this July.
“Without these two [bonuses], the annual stipend a casino worker can collect by the end of this year will drop drastically by 70%,” Chao told the Times.
Over the past few years, until the pandemic, the city’s gaming operators have raked in lucrative profits. The yearly gross gaming revenue (GGR) in 2018 and 2019 stood high at MOP302.8 billion and MOP292.5 billion, respectively, according to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).
More importantly, the gaming receipts in this month will exhibit a continual improvement — with a tally that Chao believes suffices for gaming operators to break even this month.
“Considering the financial hardship faced by local workers post-pandemic, I think it’s time for operators to take up social responsibilities and give their employees the amount of payroll they used to, and are supposed to, receive every year,” she stressed.
In a survey polling around 1,200 casino workers conducted in November by the alliance, nearly 80% of respondents reported that they had suffered a great loss in their income. More than 99.5% of them claimed that they are looking forward to the issuance of the winter bonus before the Chinese New Year.
In the letter, the association affirmed that “the worst has passed,” as approximately 80% of gaming tables have resumed business, mainly propelled by the week-long holiday ‘Golden Week’ which began on October 1.
The figures from DICJ also authenticated the rapid rebound in Macau’s casino industry. In October, the GGR in Macau totaled MOP7.27 billion, up a significant 228.8%, month-to-month, from MOP 2.21 billion in September.
However, October’s GGR figure represents a sharp plunge of 72.5%, in comparison to the MOP26.4 billion recorded in the same period last year, with the year-on-year decline evidently indicating the detrimental effects on the gaming receipts post-pandemic. Staff Reporter

Categories Macau