Bus drivers to meet labour officials after pay talks with management fail

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2008, 12:00am

Representatives of four bus drivers' unions will meet labour officials this afternoon after failing to reach an agreement with company managers over pay rises.

The meeting was scheduled yesterday after staff of Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) failed to strike a deal on pay increases with the company.

Chung Kin-wah, deputy director of the KMB branch of the Motor Transport Workers' General Union, said the group had lowered its requested pay rise from 7.5 per cent to 7 per cent. But KMB managers insisted on a 3 per cent increase. 'The company has the ability to increase our salary by 7 per cent because, similar to last year, it recorded a profit of about HK$50 million,' Mr Chung said. 'Also, the Executive Council approved fare rises.'

He said KMB had also refused to increase the base salary of some post-2004 recruits from HK$6,970 to HK$8,170. A 3 per cent increase would amount to an additional HK$7 per day for these workers, he said.

A spokeswoman for KMB, which also owns Long Win Bus, said the company could not afford a bigger increase because it faced higher operating costs due to rising oil prices.

The company would schedule another talk with its staff, she said.

While not ruling out the possibility of industrial action, Mr Chung said staff representatives from KMB, Long Win Bus, New World First Bus and Citybus would first ask labour officials to get involved in the pay negotiations.