Macau casino workers strike for first time

    About 1,000 casino workers at the Grand Lisboa complex owned by SJM Holdings took industrial action for the first time on Saturday in a push for higher wages and benefits, local media reports.
    The workers turned up late for shifts and refused to work overtime in the protest organized by The Forefront of Macau Gaming.
    “SJM has mobilised additional manpower support to handle the situation and promised that today, if workers are willing to go to work, they will guarantee compensation three times the salary,”Ieong Mang Teng, a baccarat dealer and head of the labour group told Reuters.
    The action comes despite efforts by SJM to improve wages, according to other reports.
    SJM has announced living subsidy increases for its employees starting from next year. The gaming operator says it will award its active employees annual subsidies of either 1.5, or two months of their monthly salary in two equal payments in January and July. In addition, employees with salaries of 30 thousand patacas ($3,758) or less can join a plan to accumulate their summer subsidies and receive what they call Subsidy-Plus Plan awards. These measures are to be effective until 2020.
    Macau’s casino employees have taken to the streets in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks to force better wages from the territory’s six operators.
    Concern about the protests leading to disruptive strike action helped trigger a sell-off in Macau casino stocks on Friday.