You'll 'consent' . . . or else!

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 October, 2002, 12:00am

As the Vocational Training Council (VTC) is a government-subvented institution, its staff fall in line for a pay cut, as do all in the civil service, as of October 1.

I was taken aback when I found on my desk a consent form regarding the pay cut. It surprised me that management was being fair and flexible enough to ask staff whether they were prepared to have their pay cut.

The form caused me to weigh up my preference carefully. I want to do my bit to show support for the people of Hong Kong and the city in a time of economic downturn, but I also have a family to support on a salary that never quite stretches through the month as it is.

In fact, I was so surprised with the idea of the consent form that I thought I had better contact the human resources division to check that not returning the form would really mean that the pay cut would not be taken from my monthly salary.

What I was told directly by a member of human resources was that not returning the form would indeed mean not receiving the pay cut, but it would also mean being served with three months' notice of termination of my contract.

Which beggars the question, how does VTC management interpret the word 'consent'?