Lawmakers hope gov’t can improve labor policies

Lawmakers Lam Heong Sang, Kwan Tsui Hang and Lei Cheng I organized a press conference to summarize the works of the fifth Legislative Assembly (AL). Together, they have expressed the hope that the government’s new laws will improve Macau’s labour policies.

Lei summarized nine laws relating to Macau’s labor force that were passed during the fifth AL. Lei highlighted several areas of reform, including public housing applications, paid paternity leave, local workers’ employment rights, tobacco control, and environmental protection.

On the issue of non-resident workers, Lam remarked that “the problem is not non-local workers; there must be non-local workers in Macau.”

He described the city’s employment policy as “a little bit unfair” to the local workers in some aspects.

According to Lam, salaries within some industries remain unchanged from the 2008 salary level.

“Is it fair? It is the government’s problem,” said Lam, adding that “it is not a matter of whether we are diligent or not, there must be policies [to regulate salaries].”

Kwan, agreeing with Lam, said “We do not completely oppose non- local workers. Macau’s economy needs them, and Macau’s laws should protect non-local workers’ rights.”

However, regarding local workers, she asserted that their “wages and treatment should not be affected by non-local workers,” clarifying that “many people say we are xenophobic. We [represent] the interests of a particular sector, and this is our natural duty [to protect workers’ rights].”

In Kwan’s opinion, Macau locals should be given opportunities for further education and training in order to be promoted into more advanced jobs.

“Macau has been talking about the platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries for so many years. How much can the government do for Portuguese-[speaking] people?” asked Kwan.

“Shouldn’t we train human resources for the management of the Light Rapid Transit [LRT]?” asked Kwan, adding that employers should “not look for non-local workers [when the LRT project needs staff].”

Lam said Macau locals should not just work for the government or casinos. The lawmaker, who is approaching retirement from the AL, said that he will continue to work for the Macau Federation of Trade Unions and will remain the president of the Choi In Tong San Association.

Lam added that he will push his association to work with local schools to hear students’ opinions on the city’s areas for improvement.

Above all, Lam noted that “Macau has to push itself to be “[a] walking city [… and] the public transportation [network] needs to be upgraded.”

When asked whether he would become a lawmaker again if appointed by the Chief Executive (CE), Lam replied: “I will not refuse if the CE appoints me, but the chance is smaller than 0.1 percent.”

Categories Macau