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Casino workers’ strike looms at the City of Dreams (COD) Manila, an Integrated Resort Casino of Melco Resorts Leisure (PHP) Corporation (MELCO) due to a labor dispute between its Management and members of the Union, Kilusan ng Manggagawang Makabayan (KMM-KATIPUNAN) Melco Resorts Leisure (PHP) Corporation (TABLE GAMES DIVISION) Chapter (KMM MELCO TGD) a local union affiliated with PAMBANSANG KATIPUNAN NG MANGGAGAWA (KATIPUNAN) – World Federation of Trade Union (WFTU).

The dispute is due to a Collective Bargaining Deadlock between the parties.

The Union submitted its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) proposals in May 2022; and presented and justified the same during the CBA negotiations meetings held at the Golden Bay Restaurant in July 2022. Instead of negotiating, the Management declared a moratorium and even proposed to: 1) cease subsidizing free meals; 2) cancel casino incentives, citing enhanced value of prevailing tips; 3) charge rent for the Union Office; and 4) reduce the 6 officers on Time-off to 2. This despite the fact that these are existing benefits the employees have been enjoying for the past years or provided in the present CBA. This led to the mentioned declaration of a deadlock. And only after the filing of Notice of Strike (NOS) when the Management retracted their proposed acts of diminution of benefits.

Notwithstanding the Conciliation-Mediation conferences at the Department of Labor and employment
(DOLE) – National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) thereafter, MELCO remains non-committal as the Management to date has yet to present to the Union its written counterproposals.

The Union is pushing for shorter working hours – from 9 hours and 36 minutes (48-hour workweek) to 8 hours (40-hour workweek) and other rightful demands mainly for two (2) reasons: health and security of tenure. Reduced working hours would lessen the employees’ exposure to secondhand smoke which studies have shown to cause lung cancer, emphysema, and, in some cases, breast cancer in females, in time. As for the latter, shorter working hours would translate to better productivity and lesser infractions at work due to mental and physical taxation. Ever since the CBA was signed and implemented in 2020, the Table Games Management has been stricter in imposing sanctions to members of the Union. Even the slightest and simplest errors are recorded and penalized. Hence, the employees’ willingness to give up salary increases for the next 2 years in place of reduced working hours.

The last conciliation-mediation conference proved futile since MELCO still refused to bargain. The instruction presented is that unless the Union gives up its clamor for a 40-hour workweek, the Management would not be willing to discuss the Union’s priority proposals. The KMM MELCO TGD leadership, to manifest the dignified response and strong clamor from its members, refused to give in to the employer’s pressure to settle as this only proves that MELCO, true to form as a capitalist, is willing to sacrifice the health and wellness of its workers in exchange for profits.

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