One of the staple news items when covering the Macau gaming news beat is the seasonal bonuses the concessionaires give out to keep their employees happy. At least a few hundred employees don’t think that’s enough, as a protest organized by the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association is demanding more.
As reported first by the Macau Daily Times, Cloee Chao led the protest, which seeks to win its members better pay and more favorable labor conditions. While the group self-reported 500 protestors made it to the rally, the police said the number was more like 300.
Chao noted that workers have received annual raises of approximately 2.5%, while the concessionaires have seen their revenues climb much higher than that. To make things right, she wants a guaranteed 5% annual increase, which would help laborers stay ahead of the expected 3% yearly inflation.
Other than pay, she also demanded many of the benefits currently enjoyed by government civil servants. As the casinos are concessionaires, recent court rulings have suggested they are basically arms of the government themselves, so it only makes sense that they should offer the same benefits.
Finally, the association is also demanding local employees receive the same benefits non-local workers currently enjoy, which would mean a housing subsidy. Chao says that’s unfair, and suggests stories of casino operators forcing employees to waive their rights to gain and keep employment.
Ho Iat Seng, the newly elected Chief Executive of Macau, celebrated the overall prosperity of Macau in his recent New Year message. In the address, he prominently suggested the territory should reduce its dependence on the casino industry, take a greater role in the Greater Bay Project, and get closer with China. Casino workers didn’t get very much mention, so if the concessionaires are indeed government entities, Chao may need to organize more protests.
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