Workers not satisfied with government’s gift

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Issue 325, Page 3
Word count: 286
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

A petition letter was yesterday handed to the government headquarters by three local workers’ associations which criticised the effectiveness of the social relief measures announced this week.

Five representatives from the Workers Union, Labourer and People’s Spirit Association and the Gaming and Construction Industries Joint Association petitioned the Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah urging him to cut imported labourers and eliminating illegal workers, introduce a minimum wage and minimum working days, suppress growing inflation and build more public housing.

However, these lobby groups said they did not plan to stage any protests on May 1 as “it is not the only means to express their demands”.

Wong Pui Lam, head of the Labourer and People’s Spirit Association, said although Mr Ho recently announced that public construction projects worth less than 10 million patacas would be required to all hire local workers, the measure only appealed to the construction industry which was “not sufficient”.

Mr Wong also questioned how many of such construction projects the government could offer and if these projects could truly guarantee the underemployed workers would be given enough working days each month.

The two billion pataca subsidy to be distributed to the nearly 530,000 local permanent and non-permanent residents was deemed by Mr Wong a “short-term” and “unable to combat the soaring living costs”.

He told reporters that only by raising the value of the pataca could the root problem off inflation be wiped out, adding that he was “very disappointed” with the Chief Executive having “no intention” to peg the pataca to Chinese Renminbi.

As well, the workers demanded at least 40,000 public housing units to be built in the next five years instead of the government’s previous commitment of 19,000.

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