Water Supplies to cut 200 jobs
The Water Supplies Department will get rid of about 200 clerical staff over the course of three years, starting from 2004.
But officials stressed the move was unrelated to the department's privatisation review.
About 100 clerical assistants, 56 assistant clerical officers and 41 clerical officers are expected to be moved to other departments.
The department said the reduction was prompted by a new billing computer that was approved by lawmakers in March and would be introduced in 2004.
'Staff savings' would be made through the streamlining of processing and office automation. 'Through natural wastage, retraining and redeployment, there will be no forced redundancies' a department spokeswoman said.
But the president of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, Leung Chau-ting, said the Government had been trying to thin out the 30,000-strong general grade staff.
He was also concerned that the deletion of 197 posts would affect promotion prospects.
'I believe it will be difficult for other departments to absorb the staff released,' he said.
The privatisation proposal was first floated by the Government in March 1999 to improve efficiency. But it was reportedly put on hold after thousands of staff took to the streets to protect their jobs.