About a hundred construction workers who were dismissed from the Parisian Hotel’s construction site marched for two hours yesterday from the site to the Chinese Liaison Office, demanding higher compensation than the contractor had initially offered.
Trying to solve the dispute that broke out last Friday, the Labor Affairs Bureau (DSAL) has called for workers to abide by local law and accept the “lawful solution.” The bureau director Wong Chi Hong told media yesterday that about a quarter of the protesters had accepted the contractor’s compensation solution, after the bureau and other related parties explained the statutory dismissal compensation scheme.
These workmen, recruited from the mainland, complain that they were exploited by contractors through wage deductions, being made to pay security deposits, and extra expenses that were beyond recovery. Recruited under the general contractor – Hong Kong-based Hsin Chong Construction Group Ltd., the workers signed a one-year contract but were sacked seven months before their work permits were due to expire.
According to DSAL, Macau’s labor law entitles these workers a dismissal fee equivalent to 15 days’ work for immediate contract termination, as well as monthly compensation worth 3 days’ salary until the contracted finishing date. However, the protesters demanded compensation of up to MOP20,000 per month, an amount they believed was the maximum permitted under the city’s labor law.
With the workmen rallying in front of the Central Government’s representative organ in the MSAR, DSAL held an impromptu press conference jointly with the Human Resources Office yesterday afternoon.
The director told the media that, “as of the moment, a total of 22 workers have accepted the compensation plan and signed the check issued by the contractor. Another 5 or 6 workers also implied acceptance.”Sands China Ltd., which owns the Parisian Macao project, issued a statement yesterday:“As the investor, Sands China Ltd. has appointed Hsin Chong Engineering (Macau) Limited as construction manager together with various trade contractors for the project, and understands there is a discrepancy on a consensus reached between one of the project’s trade contractors and a group of imported workers, regarding the workers’ exit scheme.”
“Sands China understands that its construction manager and the concerned trade contractor are committed to keeping all arrangements in line with the labor laws of the Macao Special Administrative Region and the company will ensure those commitments are implemented,” it added.