Labour bureau gets no updates from LV Sands

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Issue 714, Page 5
Word count: 486
Published in: Macau Daily Times

Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) chief said yesterday he did not yet receive official reports from Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) in regards to the plan to cut 4,000 employees in Macau or resumption of the Cotai Strip construction.

Shuen Ka Hung also said that the Macau government only learned about the layoff plan from foreign news reports.

However, he called on the public not to speculate anything before what was said is confirmed.

The DSAL director said they are contacting the company for a meeting in order to check whether or how many of the foreign news reports are substantial, and to know who will be the next human resources head for its Macau operations.

“We also need to see what the government should do next. We have to be well prepared if a large number of imported workers are going to leave Macau,” Shuen added.

The US media on May 13 reported that LVS Chief Operating Officer Michael Leven said between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs would be eliminated in Macau and Hong Kong by September this year in a bid to reduce costs.

Yet Leven said at the same time that the move would affect the expatriate population the most.

On the other hand, during the same week LVS Asia president Stephen Weaver was also reported as saying that 1,000 of those workers had changed to work for City of Dreams, about 2,000 were transferred to Singapore, whilst the rest would be non-local staff.

Shuen said that all companies are required to comply with the law in which within the same job type imported workers must be dismissed before their local colleagues.

He also reiterated that local employees who accepted the company’s cost-control plan to work less days a month could not be sacked due to economic reasons as promised in the deal.

“Companies as well need to have a comprehensive deportation system in place so that sacked non-local labour will be compensated and their rights will be protected according to contracts,” he added.

Meanwhile, the DSAL chief also denied having heard of any news from LVS or the Venetian Macau Ltd concerning the resumption of the Parcels 5 and 6 construction projects on the Cotai Strip.

“But we hope them to restart work as soon as possible,” he said.

In November last year when Weaver announced in Macau about the halt of the construction owing to global credit crunch, he said that the Parcels 5 and 6 expansion might need to be terminated if the company was unable to raise US$1.5 to US$2 billion within the 180 day suspension period as allowed in the construction contract.

Yet, the DSAL director said whether or not LVS has a suspension deadline “is not in the labour area” and thus he did not have any information to comment on that.

He added that other government departments are looking into the deadline issue.

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