Worker union urges bosses to give pay rise

Thursday, January 6, 2011
Issue 1204, Page 3
Word count: 560
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On agrees with the Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM) that enterprises with the financial capability should give the employees a pay rise this year amid skyrocketing inflation.

The newly elected council members of the workers unions met with the chief executive at the Government Headquarters yesterday morning.

According to the new chairman of FAOM, Chiang Chong Sek, after the one and a half hour closed-door meeting, one of the topics the two sides discussed was the “more costly lives” nowadays as prices of commodities, other goods and services all continue to rise in Macau.

“The chief executive agrees that companies with the capability, especially the gaming enterprises, should adjust their employees’ salaries to help them combat the living pressure caused by inflation,” Chiang told reporters.

“Although the most recent unemployment rate has dropped from 2.9 to 2.8 percent, the median income of local workers remained at around MOP 10,000 for ten consecutive months, indicating that most of the people’s wages hadn’t been adjusted or improved,” he stressed.

In Hong Kong, the Confederation of Trade Unions has been urging the employers to raise workers’ salaries by at least 7 percent so that the level can catch up with inflation.

The unions said such an increase will not impede companies’ development since their profits have multiplied since the 2008 global financial crisis, according to The Standard.

Chiang said the FAOM did not suggest a specific figure of by how much wages should be increased, but pointed out that the gaming industry in particular has continued to report growing revenues, thus showing that the six gaming operators have the capacity to share their gains with employees.

Some of the gaming enterprises in Macau had to implement cost-control measures and cut down employees’ working days or hours when the economic downturn started to hit the world in 2008, Chiang recalled.

In addition, the FAOM chairman believed that the Government has to introduce some measures to ease people’s hardships especially the low-income groups and grassroots workers.

“The chief executive said the source of supply of food and household items should be increased so that the selling prices can be adjusted accordingly,” Chiang said.

Chiang also reiterated that the implementation of a minimum wage in Macau is also one of the unions’ major tasks in the future.

“It won’t only prevent working poor but also offer a protection to workers. The chief executive promised that the Government will discuss with the unions about the minimum wage and start the legislative process as soon as possible,” he said.

However, the chief executive did not provide a precise timeframe on the matter.

With regard to FAOM’s new work plans, Chiang said in the next three years their mission is to “effectively perform our duty to protect the rights of workers, continue to build up the unions, support the SAR Government to administer Macau according to law and also to strengthen cultivation of talents”.

He said the chief executive hoped that local people can enhance their professionalism and thinking in order to meet the ever-changing demands amid the rapid economic development.

While Chiang has succeeded Chan Kam Meng as chairman of FAOM, Ho Sut Heng remains as the president and Chan became one of the five vice-presidents.

Chiang is an engineer at CEM but will quit the job soon to work full-time for FAOM.

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