Sands China defends labor record amid protest

    Sands China has defended its employee compensation and development record after a labor group staged a protest at the The Venetian Macau over the company’s practises.
    The group, known as the Forefront of Macau Gaming (FMG), said it had presented “reasonable” demands for a 10 percent salary increase for casino staff working on table games. The group is also complaining about the lack of transparency in the promotion of dealers to supervisors, calling it a lottery, with many not being promoted despite years of being in the position.
    FMG acts as an umbrella group to lobby on behalf of other groups. It succeeded in rallying around 3,000 protesters last October and another 1,200 or so in March this year to oppose non-resident casino dealers and exhort the government to stick to the table game cap.
    In a statement, Sands China said it “regrets” the protest. “It is also noteworthy that Sands China’s salary level and benefits scheme are competitive in the marketplace and it has a proven track record in career advancement,” it said.
    The company pointed to its recently announced plan to enhance benefits under a master plan for employee packages. These included earlier-than-usual January pay as a special arrangement in light of the Chinese New Year holiday; the payment of a bonus in February to all eligible full-time team members; a company-wide 5 per cent salary increase in March; and a special award of one-month’s additional salary for all manager grade and below team members in July, to be paid annually through 2017.
    In addition, all assistant pit managers were recently promoted to level two pit managers and, effective Aug. 1, qualified dealers will be promoted to pit supervisors. All level one pit managers will be promoted to pit managers.
    Employee costs and retention are cited by analysts as one of the key concerns for operators in Macau. There is virtually no unemployment in the territory and the government maintains strict controls on labor imports.
    As new multi-billion integrated resorts begin to come on line in Cotai beginning next year, the labor crunch is expected to worsen.