The influential Macau Federation of Trade Union (commonly known as Gung Luen) Tuesday described the government as “timid” after officials found that some gaming operators had failed to comply with regulations to implement measures regarding the setting-up of smoking areas in the city’s casinos
The union also urged the government to amend the anti-tobacco law immediately to implement a full smoking ban in all casinos if it believed that the current measures regarding the setting-up of smoking areas in casinos had failed to protect
the health of gaming employees.
Ella Lei Cheng I, a vice-president of the union who heads the union’s committee to protect worker’s rights, made the remarks after a meeting at the Tobacco Control Office with government representatives including Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U and Health Bureau (SSM) Director Lei Chin Ion.
The smoking issue is the remit of the Heath Bureau which belongs to Cheong’s portfolio.
The union had asked for the meeting with Cheong and Lei, which was also attended by several representatives from the union and its affiliated Macau Gaming Enter prises Staff Association, to express their opinions about gaming venues whose designated smoking areas have failed the government’s air quality assessment test
The findings of a report released by the Heath Bureau (SSM) in early April showed that 28 of the city’s 44 gaming venues that have set aside smoking areas failed the govern-ment’s air quality assessment.
The report said that the operators of the 28 gaming venues in question had four weeks to improve air quality in their smoking areas and if by then they still failed the test the government might reduce the size of the smoking area in the respective gaming venue.
According to the findings, of the 28 gaming venues that failed the air quality test, SJM owns 16, Galaxy owns three, Wynn owns one, while Melco owns eight. The report also pointed out that the Babylon and Legend casinos did not submit air quality reports.
The gaming venues covered by the anti-smoking law comprise casino premises and slot-machine parlours.
Talking to the media, Lei questioned why the government has not told the public what kind of penalties the bureau has imposed on the gaming operators after its assessment reports were released in early April.
She also questioned as to why the government has not imposed any penalties on the operator of the two gaming venues that failed to submit any data on their air quality.
According to the anti-tobacco law, air quality reports should be submitted to the bureau each month, said Lei.
“Since the amended anti-tobacco law was implemented in 2012 the other venues where smoking is banned follow the law and the bureau fulfils its role as supervisor… I don’t know why the government becomes so timid when it is facing the city’s gaming operators?” Lei asked. (macaunews)