Legco cleaners face axe due to minimum wage

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am

With the city's first minimum wage law coming into effect in less than two months, lawmakers yesterday demanded the government take the lead in protecting low-paid workers facing the axe.

Unionist legislator Wong Kwok-hing said he was upset that some of the workers who cleaned the Legislative Council chamber would lose their jobs because of the pay rise.

'They earn about HK$5,000 a month and they should have received a pay rise when the minimum wage takes effect on May 1,' Wong said. 'But then, regrettably ... their contracts will be terminated.'

Wong added: 'These cleaning workers have served us for four years and they witnessed how we strived for the minimum wage.'

Wong noted that the government was the city's biggest employer with 165,000 civil servants and thousands of outsourced workers, such as the cleaners, employed by contractors.

Commissioner of the Labour Department, Cheuk Wing-hing, said the government was reviewing outsourcing policies and would announce details next month.

Cheuk said the government was finalising guidelines for employers and workers as the HK$28 per hour wage floor approaches.

'If there is any argument, the Labour Department will try to liaise for workers and employers,' he said. He promised job seminars for those who lost their jobs.