Govt urged to enact smoking ban, address entitlements

A Macau labor group has urged the government to mandate employees’ holiday entitlement in its next revision of the Labor Relations Law, local media reports. 

Labor organizations are also petitioning the special administrative region’s government to enact a one-day smoking ban at all of the city’s casino venues on May 1.

Kelvin Choi Kam Fu, Director of Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff Association made the plea during a press conference at the Macau Federation of Trade Unions’ headquarters.

Choi said his group had been receiving complaints from gaming employees that their companies were violating their right to days off.

Choi said some gaming companies were demanding that their employees apply for leave almost a year in advance, denying requests to change dates, whilst others would change an employees’ day off to overlap with a public holiday.

Choi said this has been happening for a while, and he had approached the Macau Labor Affairs Bureau on a number of occasions.

Only three gaming operators have been involved in these acts, says Choi, without naming any of the offending parties.

In regards to the smoking ban, the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association (MGESA) and Forefront of Macau Gaming are also calling on lawmakers to prohibit any indoor smoking in casinos including the smoking lounges and VIP rooms on May 1, also known as Labor Day in Macau.

While cigarettes and pipes are banned from casino floors except in designated smoking lounges, the employee unions say there needs to be more done to protect the health of workers.

At the end of 2015, the gaming sector had 56,217 full-time employees, down 2.6 percent year on year. Job vacancies totalled 462 at the end of the quarter, down by 379 year on year. A total of 376 new employees were hired, down 80 percent from 1,968 in the same quarter in 2014.

“The decrease of the indicators suggested a further slowdown in demand for manpower in the Gaming Sector,” said Macau’s Statistics and Census Service.