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Casino workers call for strict smoking-ban enforcement

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A casino workers’ group met with Labor Affairs Bureau (DSAL) director Wong Chi Hong yesterday, during which they asked for stricter enforcement efforts on the smoking-ban imposed on all casinos from the beginning of this year, and to give double or triple payment to workers on duty during public holidays.
The Forefront of Macau Gaming handed their petition letter to the Bureau in Avenida to Dr. Francisco Vieira Machado, after which the head of labor affairs gave them an unexpected face-to-face meeting in the bureau’s conference room.
According to the group’s chairman, Ieong Man Teng, the workers’ representatives raised 5 major points concerning the working conditions. Firstly they asked for an update on the enforcement of the partial smoking ban in casinos after over 1 month of implementation, and the data on related violations. Casino operators were accused of pushing the popular games into smoking areas, exposing workers to more serious health risks than before the smoking ban. The group called for a complete smoking ban in all gaming facilities.
Separately, they wanted more reasonable pension fund contributions and holiday arrangements. They wanted casino employees to enjoy public holidays similar to workers in other fields, including compensation leave when public holidays overlap with worker’s regular day-off, and to offer double or even triple pay to employees working on public holidays.
“As the dominant industry in Macau, gaming operators should offer their employees a remuneration scheme similar to that of the civil servants, to show the casinos’ cooperation with the governments’ people-oriented policy,” said Ieong Man Teng, chairman of the group, which also called for a guideline for working arrangements during a typhoon, including special insurance coverage for employees working in bad weather conditions.
The group also requested extra subsidies for employees working on rotation shifts. But it said the bureau head only listened to their views and accepted their petition documents, but did not make any specific promise or offer a concrete response.
The petitioners said they would take further action regarding the smoking bans in casinos. Two months ago, the group also handed a petition letter to the office of directly-elected legislator Angela Leong On Kei, who is also the Managing Director of casino operator, SJM, asking her to push ahead with her proposal for a complete smoking ban in all areas of casinos. But they were also skeptical that the lawmaker had only made the popular but surprising appeal because she is running for re-election next year. 

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