A group representing employees from all Sands China Ltd.’s properties complained to the casino management about their work shift schedule during the days that Typhoon Hato and Pakhar hit Macau.
In information revealed to Business Daily by three employees of The Venetian, dealers and supervisors stated that due to their inability to get out of the property during the typhoon period, they kept working overtime.
In one case, an employee at The Venetian worked for 16 continuous hours, with a 10-hour rest period to go home and come back for his next shift.
“I started working at 10pm [of August 26]. The property knew there would be a typhoon on the morning [of August 27] so they asked me to sleep in one of the ballrooms in the casino, giving me only one bad mattress to sleep on. I couldn’t fall asleep and had to start work at 8am [yesterday], finished at 3pm to have to work again at 10pm,” one of the employees that asked to remain anonymous told Business Daily.
According to this employee, in previous typhoons, if dealers worked more than six hours of overtime they were provided with one day of leave after. However, during Typhoon Hato and Pakhar, this policy wasn’t followed.
Another employee told Business Daily that he started working at 11pm on August 26 until 2pm yesterday, with the property asking him to rest for only 10 hours.
The employees informed Business Daily that a group of workers complained about the issue and requested to discuss the issue with Sands China management.
With the discussions not reaching a conclusion, Legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho was asked to mediate the meeting that even involved representatives of the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ), the Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL).
“It was a labour argument with the Sands China management about the workers having the right to choose between going home to rest or having less hours of rest in return for a bonus (…) It’s very important for dealers to be able to rest, because in their function any mistake dealing cards can be discounted from their salary,” Mr. Coutinho told Business Daily.
According to the Legislator, before the intervention, workers were “mandated” to come to work yesterday morning due to their shift scheduling, with the intervention allowing the workers to choose between going home or receiving a bonus.
“Most of the workers chose to go home since most of their residences or cars were damaged, or they had to take family members to the hospital,” the legislator told Business Daily.
According to what employees told Business Daily, the issue led to the Chairman of Sands China, Wilfred Wong Ying-wa, intervening in the negotiations, with the bonus proposed by Sands China being valued at MOP1,000.
After BD contacted the company to receive their feedback, Sands China Ltd. said it regretted that some team members had expressed discontent regarding shift arrangements during the typhoon period.
‘Our overtime payment and benefits are generous, exceeding the requirements of the Macao Labor Law. We pay a double hourly rate for the whole shift during typhoon periods, and team members also receive additional paid leave days as further compensation. We also ensure that team members receive at least a 12-hour break between shifts in order to allow sufficient time to rest,’ the company stated to BD, adding that ‘understanding the additional stress load on team members during these hectic periods, the company accordingly provides them with special transportation and accommodation arrangements, shower rooms, hot meals, water distribution, and other arrangements as needed.’
‘With the unfortunate occurrence of two back-to-back typhoons within a few days of each other, we witnessed team members’ tremendous effort and hard work. As a special token of our gratitude, we have decided to reward each of them with an additional MOP1,000 in pay,’ Sands China says.
The statement concludes by saying that ‘this arrangement was made after direct dialogue between management and staff, and after the clarification of facts and any misunderstandings.