Ho Iat Seng may yet to be officially appointed the new CEO of Macau, but that hasn’t stopped gaming staff ensuring he has little downtime when he takes over the reigns in December. The employees have prepared a list of changes that they would like for their holiday season.
A survey on how much the next chief executor, would like to know about his members, was circulated by the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association (NMGSRA), which is one of Macao’s largest labour unions. According to GGRAsia, the study allegedly had a large uptake with 7,235 participants responding.
Among the main modifications Ho will have to consider are changes to the smoking policies of the city to safeguard the health of staff, equal holiday rights for casino staff similar to those enjoyed by civil servants and a five-day work week.
Surprisingly, there was not that high interest in wage rises. The group’s inclination was to compete for better working conditions, with less emphasis on wages. Perhaps the annual salary received by the workers for 13 or 14 months is adequate at this time. The union was somewhat surprised by the absence of interest in enhanced wages and the vice director of the NMGSRA, Jeremy Lei Man Chao, stated: “From the results, it is actually quite a surprise to us that most respondents have chosen topics related to a healthy working environment, rather than salary increments or imported-labour policy.”
The study showed that problems related to smoking are still an issue for casino employees. The union’s director, Cloee Chao, explained, “Smoking-control violation is still a serious problem…the complaints that we always receive are mostly from the gaming workers that are employed at smaller casinos where they [venue management] did not install up-to-standard smoking lounges; and also [from] those that work in VIP gaming rooms.”
It will be interesting to see how the smoking issues are addressed, particularly as more smoking lounges have just been permitted by Macau. Over the previous two months, Macau’s casinos have been approved of another 21 lounges between them, and second-hand smoke issues will definitely be discussed. There are 583 smoking lounges now adhering to the revised smoking policies of the city, but casino staff may think they are not offering adequate security.
In a few years, Macau will have to perform a fresh tender for gaming permits. There are currently six licenses issued and all will be subject to review by 2022, and the union of employees feels this will provide a great opportunity to use their wishes as bargaining chips for the new tenders. The union’s director asserts, “Since the new chief executive would be handling the re-tender for Macau casino gaming rights, it is a good opportunity to tell him what the workers would want the government to consider [when negotiating the re-tender terms].”