Many employees of the six gambling concessionaires are demanding an extra month of salary before Chinese New Year as a winter livelihood subsidy, Cloee Chao, president of the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, announced yesterday.
The association has submitted a list of demands to the Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng.
In the letter, Chao stressed that the gambling industry provides economic stability for more than 80,000 workers and their households. The stability of the industry is essential to the stability of the entire economy.
Furthermore, she inferred that the impact of the current pandemic on ordinary households has been exceptionally heavy, mentioning the government’s budget deficit this year.
Chao justified the request, arguing that most casino workers have taken furloughs within the last two years, although she expressed the group’s appreciation for the retention of casino workers by concessionaires and the government.
She added that since March 2020, all casino workers have been required to take unpaid or semi-paid leaves, on top of salary freeze and withdrawal of mid-year bonus.
However, she pointed out that many workers are ineligible for the Covid-19 vaccine for various reasons, and that following Health Bureau’s guidelines, they must therefore take the nucleic acid test (NAT) in order to work. Some workers who reside in Zhuhai because they cannot afford to live in Macau must also take the NAT regularly for border crossings. She said that each household needs to spend more than 1,000 patacas each month just for the NAT.
Those workers who happened to live in yellow or red zones could not go to work. Even if they were able to keep their positions, the law allowed their employers to cut their salaries.