Paltry rises of low-paid wiped out by inflation
Many low-paid workers received rises of less than HK$1 per hour last year, which unionists said were useless as inflation intensified. Comparing statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department, the Confederation of Trade Unions found that 61 per cent of 144 job categories suffered pay decreases or their meagre wage increases were eaten away by inflation. Security guards received a rise of 57 cents per hour in the third quarter last year, restaurant workers 77 cents and general cleaners HK$1, but the increases were wiped out by inflation, which reached 6.3 per cent year on year in February. Pay for secretaries, some clerks and masseurs dropped as much as 22.1 per cent.
Air passenger traffic jumps
Air passenger traffic increased by 10.8 per cent to 4.2 million last month, according to the Airport Authority. The first day of the Easter holiday saw a record 945 aircraft movements. Total air traffic last month reached 25,745, 6.8 per cent higher than March last year. The authority's chief executive officer, Stanley Hui, said the outlook for the months ahead remained cautiously optimistic in view of the prospect of a slowdown in the US economy.
Political group launched
Kowloon West New Dynamic, the political group led by Legislative Council hopeful Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, was formally launched yesterday with a boost in the number of advisers, including executive councillor Bernard Chan and legislators Raymond Ho Chung-tai and Patrick Lau Sau-shing. The group released a development blueprint for the region.