Rail workers get pay rises before merger

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am

Rail workers at the MTR Corporation and the KCRC have received the same pay rises in the last review ahead of the merger of the rail operations of the two companies.

The 12,000 staff of the MTR Corp and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation were notified yesterday of wage increases of between 1.6 per cent and 4.8 per cent depending on performance.

But a discrepancy in the awarding of bonuses has left KCRC staff complaining of unfair treatment.

Less than two-fifths of KCRC staff were entitled to a one-off bonus of between HK$1,500 and HK$3,500, while nearly all MTR Corp employees received a one-off bonus of two weeks' pay.

KCRC Officers Union chairwoman Rainbow Lau Choy-hung said management should make the bonus an across-the-board payment.

'It is one company, one team now,' Ms Lau said. 'Why should the KCRC leave itself open to criticism that the treatment is different?'

The KCRC said it would consider the request.

At the KCRC, 97 per cent of staff whose performance was rated as good and above were awarded a rise of between 3.2 and 4.8 per cent, but only those rated very good or excellent were awarded the bonus. At the MTR Corp, 97 per cent of staff whose performance was rated good or better were given a pay rise of 3.2 to 4.8 per cent, and all are entitled to the one-off bonus.

Poor performers in both companies were entitled to an increase of 1.6 per cent.

Ms Lau said she was satisfied with the wage rise and welcomed the management's decision to review the bonus arrangement.

She said a higher salary base would make the voluntary redundancy package proposed by the two companies - available only for non-frontline staff - more attractive as the remuneration was calculated on their salaries.

But KCR Workers' Union chairman Ko Pak-kwan said the wage rises should be made across the board.

The MTR Corp General Staff Association said the rise was too low, when taking into consideration their workload which had increased over the years.

The union said later it had no choice but to accept the proposed pay rise in the hope it would create a harmonious atmosphere for the merger. It hoped greater flexibility would be adopted on the issue of pay rises after the merger.

The pay rise was the highest in seven years.