In Macau, about 200 casino workers reportedly held a demonstration on Monday calling for a 5% pay rise and legislation that would allow trade unions to call strikes and better represent their members.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the rally was organized by Professionals For Gaming Of New Macau in an attempt to force the government to call on casino operators to grant staff pay increases.

“We’re calling for a salary hike for not only the table game workers but also for the rest of casino employees,” Cloee Chao, President for the Professionals For Gaming Of New Macau told GGRAsia.

Chao reportedly explained that most members of her activist group are dealers or casino supervisors with the group delivering a petition to the government two months ago calling for a pay hike to help mitigate the effects of local inflation. Citing official figures from the city’s Statistics And Census Service, she declared that the average composite consumer price index had swelled by 2.56% year-on-year since November of 2015 while only Sands China Limited, which is a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and operates The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, Sands Macao, The Parisian Macao and Sands Cotai Central, had so far announced a pay rise.

“We are demonstrating at this time because this month is when the gaming companies conclude their earnings for the whole [prior calendar] year and usually, if they do have any plan to raise their salaries, they would announce it around the time of Chinese New Year,” Chao told GGRAsia. “We’ll collect signatures from our gaming worker members to back the pay hike call again if we still do not hear any news about it after Chinese New Year. We’ll even initiate a bigger action. What we mean by this bigger action is that we might express our call via demonstrating at the casinos.”

Chao declared that her group is also calling for the introduction of laws to better regulate trade union activities, which is a sentiment backed by local legislators Au Kam San and Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong. Although Macau gives people the freedom to establish and join unions and to withdraw their labor in the event of a dispute, there has yet to be enabling legislation passed that guarantees workers have the right tools to negotiate with their employers.

GGRAsia reported that the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staffs Association, which is affiliated with the influential Macau Federation Of Trade Unions, has also joined the call for a pay rise for the city’s casino workers. At a separate Monday event, the group’s Director General, Choi Kam Fu, reportedly told the Teledifusao De Macau radio and television broadcaster that his union was set to propose a 5% to 7% salary increase for 2017.

“As the gaming industry has stabilized, we think there are conditions for casinos to adjust [the salaries of workers] to cover inflation,” Choi told Teledifusao De Macau.

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