Table tennis game puts workers' pay in peril

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2005, 12:00am

Five Housing Department workers face possible disciplinary action, including having their pay docked, after being caught playing table tennis during work hours.

The action follows reports that workers from the department's land surveying section at Oi Man Estate, Ho Man Tin, and contract drivers from the nearby Kowloon South district maintenance office failed to return to duty after lunch on July 21.

Instead, they were found pitting their table tennis skills against each other at one of the outdoor tables provided on the estate.

They stayed there for over an hour and returned to their respective offices just before the end of their shifts to fill in their work logs and lock up the office.

Speaking on RTHK yesterday, Assistant Director of Housing Martin Cheung Kin-keung said the five department staff were juniors at the land surveying section, while the rest were contract staff.

Mr Cheung said the juniors were supposed to have spent the rest of the day cleaning equipment and preparing for the next day.

'We have completed a probe into the case and have passed a preliminary report to the staff management committee, which has issued warning letters,' Mr Cheung said.

'We are also considering taking disciplinary action and, depending on the situation, the workers could have their pay docked.'

The official said tougher staff supervision had been introduced.

'In the past, we would conduct surprise checks once or twice a week during the middle of duty, but now they are daily,' he said.

'We cannot apply one-on-one surveillance tactics in practice but we are sending someone to conduct surprise checks on their work. Other than issuing letters reminding them of their conduct, we will be increasing the frequency of our inspections.'

Mr Cheung also said the department would assign frontline workers to other tasks once they completed their primary duties.