Recruitment fair opens today in bid to relieve driver shortage

Friday, April 11, 2008
Issue 310, Page 5
Word count: 471
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

A tourism industry recruitment fair will be held today and tomorrow at the Workers Stadium in Border Gate in an attempt to hunt for more eligible local coach and bus drivers to fill up the nearly 1,000 vacancies.

Admission opens only to Macau identity card and eligible driver’s license holders from 12pm to 8pm, the event will be participated by about 30 tourism industry and public transport organisations including travel agents and the two bus companies.

Positions available will mainly appeal to candidates who hold driver’s licenses of medium and large-sized coaches or buses. A number of the companies will also recruit drivers for small-sized passenger vehicles.

Basic salary will range from 8,500 patacas to 12,000 patacas according to an eight-hour work schedule, excluding over-time payments.

The two-day recruitment fair is organised by the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) in collaboration with the Macau Travel Agency Association, Association of Macao Tourist Agents, Travel Industry Council of Macau and the Macao Federation of Trade Unions.

A joint press conference was held yesterday in which DSAL director Shuen Ka Hung said the fair was staged particularly to respond to the hardship the industry was experiencing in hiring big coach and bus drivers as a large number of supply had shifted to work for casinos and hotels’ own transport fleets.

Mr Shuen said according to statistics, there are at present about 972 driver positions of all sorts of vehicles that the local tourism industry and the two bus companies are unable to fill up.

He added that the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) had already accelerated the process for obtaining heavy vehicle driver’s licenses and the driving schools’ schedules had been booked out until the year end.

Chairman of the Macau Travel Agency Association, Alex Lao, said solving the transportation problem was the most primarily criterion for a healthy development of tourism.

Mr Lao said the number of coaches employed by travel agents had soared 156.4 percent from 720 in 2002 to 1,846 last year.

“Severe drivers shortage have led to a prevalence of part-time employment and over-time shifts which can possibly put passengers’ safety at risk,” he added.

According to president of the Association of Macao Tourist Agents, Chan Chi Kit, travel agents solely have a lack of about 180 to 200 drivers to take care of their media to large-sized coaches.

The labour shortage had driven a significant pay rise for coach drivers in the past two years from about 35 patacas per hour to maximum 60 patacas, 8,000 patacas monthly to 10,000 patacas, or even reached 12,000 patacas, Mr Chan said.

Coach drivers nowadays, he added, were mostly between 40 to 60 years old because “there is a small number of people joining the industry and people below the age of 35 will usually go for jobs in the gaming industry.”

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