Bigger pay rises needed to offset inflation: union

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2008, 12:00am

A trade union group yesterday appealed for a pay rise of between 7 per cent and 8.1 per cent this year for the city's workforce, after a poll reflected concerns that salary increases might not offset inflation.

More than half of the respondents, or 52.8 per cent, were extremely worried their pay rises this year would not be enough to counter rising living costs, the Confederation of Trade Unions' survey showed. Only 6.5 per cent were not worried.

The survey also found 55.5 per cent of respondents felt their employers were not willing to share increased profits and the fruits of the economic recovery.

The union interviewed 360 people from various sectors on the streets and by telephone last month.

The union said a pay rise should be able to reflect a worker's contribution to the economy, but the findings showed a different picture.

Only 31.2 per cent of respondents received pay rises last year, while 66.8 per cent had their salaries frozen.

The average pay rise for respondents was 1.45 per cent. This would not offset inflation as the government had forecast the inflation rate this year to be 2 per cent, the union said.

Senior technician Kwan Chi-nam, who has been working for telecommunications company PCCW for 35 years, earns HK$16,000 a month. Mr Kwan said his salary was cut during the 2003 Sars epidemic, and has been frozen since then.

Apart from a pay rise, the union's organising co-ordinator Mung Siu-tat also urged the government to introduce a statutory minimum wage.