Social workers to strike

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2007, 12:00am

Social workers will go on strike at the end of this month to push for a review of the welfare funding policy and to demand the same pay as their government counterparts.

The industrial action will take place on November 28. It is not yet known how many workers will join the campaign.

'We have just decided on the strike and we are still doing the calculations,' Peter Cheung Kwok-che, president of the Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union said.

Mr Cheung noted it was 'very rare' that social workers took industrial action. 'We simply have no choice at all. The government keeps telling us to wait. But how long can we wait?' he said.

In September, about 5,000 social workers and welfare officers took half a day's leave and marched in Central to protest against the grant system, which they said had cut funding for welfare groups, and reduced wages.

The social workers believe the grant system that was introduced in 2000 has led to an exodus of experienced social workers in recent years because of reduced pay.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the industrial action was unnecessary. 'The government is having dialogue with the welfare sector. We urge them to remain calm and continue to show their professionalism,' he said.