KMB drivers seeking intervention in pay-rise negotiations

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2007, 12:00am

More than 100 Kowloon Motor Bus drivers have demanded the Labour Department intervene in negotiations with the bus operator today over their demand for a pay rise of between 5 and 7.5 per cent.

KMB is sticking to its proposal of a 2 per cent increase. A spokeswoman said a higher increase was not possible, because of high fuel prices and keener competition, following the passage last week of the bill authorising the merger of the KCRC and MTR Corp's rail operations, which would result in a fare cut.

But the deputy director of the KMB branch under the Motor Transport Workers General Union, Chung Kin-wah, warned any fallout from today's negotiations may result in a strike.

'[KMB] ... just said 'we can offer no more than 2 per cent and that's it'. We feel they totally lack sincerity in reaching a compromise with us.'

Flanked by drivers from New World First Bus and Citybus, the union staged a protest yesterday outside the offices of the Transport Department and Labour Department in Wan Chai.

Drivers from the two other companies, who lowered their request for a pay rise from 6 per cent to 4.2 per cent, pledged their support for any labour action that might be taken by KMB staff.

KMB drivers threatened to strike last year after the company refused their demand of a 2 per cent pay rise. The action was later called off following a settlement between the two parties for a 1.4 per cent rise.