In Macau and a new survey has reportedly determined that almost 60% of casino workers are currently wrestling with financial hardship after being forced to take unpaid leave due to the economic downturn caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Friday report from the Macau Daily Times newspaper, the investigation from the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff Association found that 59.6% of casino workers in the former Portuguese enclave had been furloughed without pay. The source detailed that the inquiry surveyed 611 staff in person and online in August and also revealed some 80% of respondents were now ‘worried’ or ‘very worried’ about their future career prospects.
The 39 casinos in Macau were closed for a 15-day period from February 5 after the city of some 696,000 people recorded its tenth confirmed coronavirus infection. Although these venues subsequently re-opened under a new set of social distancing and public health protocols, business has reportedly been slow to recover due to a range restrictions severely limiting travel between the enclave and mainland China and Hong Kong.
The recent examination reportedly moreover found that 6.6% of furloughed workers had been asked to take particular days off while those with the longest employment history were seemingly more likely to be placed on unpaid leave. Despite this state of affairs, only 8% of those surveyed purportedly expressed a desire to change professions or industries this year.
After releasing the results of its survey, the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff Association reportedly also called on the local government to institute new safeguards that would regulate unpaid leave, provide training for those eager to upskill, hasten an economic rebound and adjust foreign employment quotas so as to protect jobs. This purportedly came after the group’s New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association compatriot declared that up to 20,000 casino employees were currently underemployed and likely to continue remaining subject to unpaid leave furloughs.
Macau recorded a decline of 72.5% year-on-year in aggregated gross gaming revenues for October to about $910.2 million although this was an improvement on the previous six months where receipts had continually plummeted by at least 90% on a comparable basis. This ongoing slump has reportedly been largely caused by an over 90% fall in tourist arrivals with the city’s third-quarter overall official unemployment rate having consequently increased to stand at 2.8%.