Bus strike looms as KMB rigid on pay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 June, 2007, 12:00am

In talks with their employer yesterday, Kowloon Motor Bus drivers lowered their demand for a pay rise to 4 per cent after initially demanding between 5 and 7.5 per cent.

But the threat of a strike still hangs over commuters' heads as KMB remained firm in offering only a 2 per cent increase.

Under mediation by Labour Department officers, the bus operator yesterday proposed a one-off special bonus of HK$250 on top of the 2 per cent rise.

Chung Kin-wah, deputy director of the KMB branch of the Motor Transport Workers' General Union, said this was unacceptable.

'What do we need that HK$250 for? We want an improvement in our pay scale, not a one-off bonus.'

Mr Chung said the union had agreed to lower its demand for a pay rise to 4 per cent after consulting members.

The union polled more than 2,000 drivers at six bus terminuses this month and most considered a 4 per cent rise to be their bottom line.

KMB will consider the drivers' requests over the weekend and give its response on Monday.

'We will consult our members again before deciding on the next step if the employer does not give us a satisfactory answer,' Mr Chung said.

Earlier this week, the union told a news conference that although drivers had enjoyed annual pay rises over the past two years, their actual total remuneration was less than that of six years ago as a result of a reduction in their working hours and benefits.