Gaming operator SJM Holding Limited announced internally last Wednesday that it is to increase the salary of its workers by five per cent effective this month. The corporation’s contributions to the provident fund of its workers will also be based on a combination of the employee’s basic salary and tips, known as ‘tea money’.
SJM, the first of six gaming operators to announce a salary hike in the New Year, said in an internal notice that ‘despite the prospect of the economy remaining unknown, [SJM] is still optimistic about the long term development of the economy. [As such, SJM] has decided to be the first in the industry to announce a salary increase for its employees, improving benefits and carrying out a bonus scheme just as before’.
In addition, the gaming corporation will rescind the position of ‘dealer inspector’ (DI), known as interns of supervisors. Employees at this level will be promoted to pit supervisor, with corresponding salary, according to the announcement.
Gaming labour union:
Meanwhile, the secretary general of local gaming union Forefront of Macau Gaming (FMG), Cloee Chao, told Business Daily in a phone interview last Friday that the union is surprised by SJM’s sudden announcement.
“The announcement awarding five per cent rise in salary is very surprising, especially when it is under the [condition of] gaming revenue dropping for six consecutive months. We are satisfied that SJM is the first [operator] to increase workers’ salaries”, Ms. Chao said, indicating that the new arrangements of SJM had met the demands voiced recently by workers.
From August to October, SJM workers had protested against their employer on several occasions for better remuneration and benefits. The demands included a 10 per cent lift in salary, bonus, combining the basic salary and tips into one when contributing to the provident fund and cancelling internship positions.
According to the union secretary, prior to the new measures the provident fund that SJM contributed to was only based on basic salary, which equals half the full salary. Meanwhile, the holders of DI positions had been paid dealers’ salaries even though they worked as supervisors.
“From the new notice, we think that SJM did listen to the workers’ demands. Although salaries have only been increased by 5 per cent [not] 10 per cent, workers are already satisfied as other demands have also been met, including the earlier announcement of distributing ‘living subsidies’,” Ms. Chao said.
Although the wave of protests did not force SJM to award increased salaries at that time, it did announce in August that it would give ‘living subsidies’ to its workers from 2015 to 2020, equivalent to employees’ salaries of 1.5 or 2 months.
“Some workers have reflected to us that they have already received the ‘living subsidies’ for 2015 today [Friday]”, Ms Chao claimed, saying she is hoping that the other five gaming operators will follow SJM in increasing salaries for their gaming workers.