Social Enterprise Supporting a Harmonious Macau - The People's Political Consultative Daily

Macau in harmony with MSE assistance – Renmin Zhengxie Bao Dated: 2010-03-23


Reporter: To Kuan Ling

This year, during the period of the holding of the two Congresses, I had the chance to chat with Mr Lam, member of the National Committee; noting that he got one more title recently – chairman of the working committee of ‘Macao Social Enterprise Co. Ltd.”  What kind of organization is this? What will it bring? Burning with curiosity, I went on asking and realized that the organization was conducive and beneficial to the establishment of a harmonious society in Macau.

From the training of workers to the training of sub-contractors

In 2008, many countries faced serious unemployment issues ever due to the financial turmoil triggered by America. Lam Kam Seng said: “Last year was a crucial year for the economy of Macau. Macau gaming industry and tourism industry were badly affected.  With the spread of the financial crisis, influence of the financial industry was extended towards the fundamental economy. In addition, with the downturn of the realty, the unprivileged were mostly affected; amongst them are the people with low education, the senior and low-skilled building workers.”

Revealed by the related news, the reporter showed that since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, there came the suspension of the construction project of a sizeable hotel in Macau with its second phase of construction work completely halted, thus leading to 15,000 ~ 16,000 builders working on short-term basis only. “Since the wages of most workers is on a daily basis, whenever construction works is suspended, their livelihood turns tricky” Lam Kam Seng told the reporter. Macau society and economy stability not only adversely affected when confronting issues of severe economic situation and the increment of unemployment,  this situation also leads to various social issues and thus affecting seriously the progress of Macau harmonious structure. In response to that, the Macau SAR Government implements various measures helping enterprises to strive hard for existence. One of the measures is to resolve the unemployment situation through cooperating with the community, aiming to readjust human resources through the establishment of social enterprise; assisting those who lost their jobs due to the crisis, solving unemployment and securing employment competitiveness. It is under this intension and to go parallel with the Macau SAR Government that 30 Macau entrepreneurs spontaneously set up the ‘Macau Social Enterprise Co. Ltd’.  Previously in August, MSE officially opened to the public and started providing various services for building workers.’

“Our primary work plan is to help the construction workers with job match”, Mr Lam said. “The entrepreneurs who take part in this scheme are mostly from the construction business. There is better information flow on construction work underway, number of building workers, and types of workers in need. Base on such advantage and available resources, training course and job referral service can be provided smoothly to the unemployed.

Mr Lam said: “During the process of workers’ registration, we noticed that with workers who have strength and willingness to work, we can refer to the appropriate working organization. Some other type of workers are willing to work however are not up to standard or maybe their technical skills are lower and comparatively older, in this case MSE need to provide more profound services.

One of our services is technical training. “To those low-skilled construction workers, we have invited instructors from Hong Kong to upgrade their working skills. The training is tough”, Mr Lam said: “MSE has a special training center for carpenter, cement worker and other skills of work.  We request workers to take full day training from Monday to Friday. Each training session lasts for two and a half months during which the Labor Affairs Bureau subsidizes each worker MOP$200 per day. After these two and a half months, hopefully workers can find jobs easier.”

“We have also realized that from our registration, unemployed workers aged from 55 to 65 cover up to 37%. Most of them have been working in the construction industry for more than 20 years. Now with their physical frailty how likely can they compete with the young people?”  Mr Lam and some MSE colleagues have come up with a new idea – Sub-contractor Training Project.

Mr Lam explained, “MSE, by utilizing their network resources can receive some small-scale works which in turn would be unconditionally relocated to sub-contractors. Construction team is formed by the unemployed workers, with specialized personnel to train “sub-contractor” on wages and different construction charge estimation. “Train them to be an employer and how to employ their past experience to lead the builders”.  To start with as an employer, initial capital is needed. MSE would lend them money to pay the workers daily and buy necessary materials.  Usually upon the construction work is completed, construction settlement can be collected, only by then sub-contractor return the money to MSE. Of course, “sub-contractor” bears certain risks; he has to ensure the punctuality and quality of work. If the management skill is not appropriate and the construction progress is delayed, less profit will be made.

Mr Lam told the reporter: “The greatest risk to be a sub-contractor is failing to get hold of the construction settlement upon completion. As MSE is well acquainted with the construction industry and the entrepreneurs taking part in it are all prominent, so they are able to find creditable enterprising companies to ensure sub-contractor in obtaining the final construction payment. MSE has four to five of such construction projects underway. For the recently completed project, the sub-contractor was able to obtain MOP$9,000 as net profit within 15 days. Although it was not a large sum, through his own ability he was able to gain revenue through his effort. The company would train the sub-contractor on quotation and risk assessment so they gain the ability to receive construction work on their own.

Furthermore, Mr Lam said: “Half of the net profit from the construction work always reimburses to sub-contractor and workers, the rest of the balance would be saved for the “Sub-contractor Training Reserves” serving to diminish the loss and debt made due to miscalculation of any upcoming construction project. This provides a system of mutual help for workers.”

“Self-esteemed”, harmonious society

“Since the launch of its operation in August 2009, MSE received registration of over 1,200 workers and carried out job match for 400 workers.  The important outcome MSE brought forward to the unemployed is ‘self-esteem’.

The Macau SAR Government has gained strong monetary status with the development of the Macau gaming industry. In recent years, the SAR Government persisted to distribute ‘red-packets’ so the unemployed workers did not have to worry about the government subsidy.  Even so, many people is unwilling to receive government subsidy, they are more incline to earn their own living. "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." MSE provides the unemployed workers with all the mentioned service so for real they can live on an income with dignity.

From another point of view, MSE has established an inter-communicative platform between employers and employees, helping workers to be employed the soonest the possible and offering follow-up action; dissipating the tension and disagreement arisen between employers and employees; easing their disquieting mood and dissolving mutual incompatibility.  MSE also plays a part in the building of a harmonious Macau society.

No matter it is helping the unemployed to find job or assisting them to start up in business, MSE establishment has positioned itself as a non profit-taking organization with social returns as priority through the mechanism of enterprising management.     Mr Lam told the reporter that the 30 entrepreneurs of MSE are from the industry and business circle. Seven members including himself and Mr Liu Chak Wan, Mr Ma Iao Lai, Mr.Chui Sai Cheong, Mr Wong Yue Kai, Mr Chong Sio Kin, Mr Wong Pan Seng are members of The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference while some others are members of Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Entrepreneurs who involve in this task based on the pure thinking that “workers must have jobs before the society can obtain harmony”. It is part of the function performed by CPPC members to contribute to the formation of a harmonious Macau society.  Mr Lam said, “The establishment of MSE is to help the root level and underprivileged with handy action, to reinforce the economy and livelihood of resident for a sustainable and stabilized development.  Hopefully, different groups of the Macau society utilize the platform of MSE to strengthen the inter-communication and mutual help among different ranks for the maintenance of a harmonious society.

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