Low turn out to bus driver recruitment fair

Sunday, April 13, 2008
Issue 312, Page 3
Word count: 570
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

After observing the recruitment fair that took place during the last two days in bid to relieve the severe shortage of coach and public bus drivers, one of the organisers from the tourism industry said they were not optimistic about the event’s effectiveness in achieving the goal.

The fair, held at the Workers Stadium in Border Gate on Friday and Saturday, was 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.

Admission was open only to Macau identity card and eligible driver’s license holders, about 30 travel agents and the two public bus companies set up booths in the venue hoping to hunt for new blood to join the coach driving industry in order to fill up the nearly 1,000 vacancies.

Observing the event at the stadium, chairman of the Macau Travel Agency Association, Alex Lao, told the Macau Daily Times he would be “pleased” even just one-third or about 300 of the 972 available positions could be taken.

Not only because there are only 23 drivers registered at DSAL as being unemployed, Mr Lao said, but most of the attendees were currently having jobs as a driver and came to the fair to look for part-time or new jobs that could offer them a better pay and welfare.

“The root problem of the labour shortage in the industry will remain unsolved if people are just shifting between companies. The vacancies still exist at the end of the day,” he said.

“The recruitment of 300 people during the fair may mean the loss of 300 people from other companies,” he added.

Mr Lao stressed that the recruitment fair was not a means to “fight for human resources” within the industry, but to attract people who had the required licensing qualification to join the market.

The chairman told the MDT that the government should implement measures to alleviate the shortage of drivers for public buses and casino coaches, so that “labour mobility would be reduced and the tourism industry could then grow”.

On Friday the first day of the event, there were 792 visitors and a total of 740 application forms were received including 464 for driver positions to operate public buses and 40-seat large-sized coaches.

And as of 3pm yesterday, the fair saw 261 visitors and Mr Lao admitted that the response was “quiet”.

Cheong Heng Cheong, 55, was one of the visitors yesterday but he did not submit an application.

Being unemployed for almost half a year, Mr Cheong said he only has the license for driving small-sized vehicles but the only company that he could apply to required candidates that speak English.

He complained that it took about two years to obtain the D License which will allow him to operate coaches and “make more money”.

He said that operating casino coaches was a “relaxing job” compared with public buses, and could earn a basic salary of about 9,000 patacas plus one pataca for each passenger they drove who entered the casino.

Another 45-year-old coach driver who refused to give out his name said he already had a full-time job as well as a number of part-time jobs, but he still applied for more than one position at the fair yesterday citing he would “go for jobs that paid better salaries and gave better conditions”.

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