Biggest civil service union rejects pay trend results

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 June, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong's largest civil servants' union has dismissed results of the latest pay trend survey as 'politicised' and 'unscientific', saying the government committee that handles the survey 'should be folded' if it does not allow opposition voices.

The comments came after the endorsement of the annual report by the 16-member Pay Trend Survey Committee with only four opposition votes last week. Findings show that civil servants at lower, middle and upper ranks could face wage cuts of up to 0.96 per cent, 1.98 per cent and 5.38 per cent respectively.

Peter Wong Hyo, president of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association that has objected to the report, said yesterday that it had been passed using an inappropriate procedure.

'Since the introduction of the mechanism in 1974, the committee had always been successful in resolving technical issues of the pay trend survey even when there were serious disagreements. But this year the situation is totally different,' Mr Wong said. 'Scientific principles were bypassed ... The endorsement of the report was announced in a high-profile manner without mentioning controversy within the committee.'

Union vice-president Li Kwai-yin, also a committee member, said the method of compiling the survey results was flawed because one or two participating companies had adopted different bases on which to analyse pay levels for this year and last year. 'There was not a consistent basis of comparison,' she said.

Mr Wong criticised committee chairwoman Virginia Choi Wai-kam, alternative chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen and Michelle Li Mei-sheung, secretary general of the Joint Secretariat for the Advisory Bodies on Civil Service and Judicial Salaries and Conditions of Service.

He said their way of handling the survey was misleading the public.

Opposition views were ignored, Mr Wong said. 'It is meaningless if we act as a rubber stamp there. I would suggest that the committee should be folded if it doesn't allow members to raise doubts.'

He dismissed reports in three Chinese-language newspapers that the association had only raised doubts on the data provided by the companies in question after the release of the results because it did not favour the figures.

He said the union reserved the right to hold 'those who mishandled the matter in the committee' accountable and 'some media organisations which have damaged the reputation of the association'.

But he declined to say whether legal action would be taken, saying the union would seek legal advice.