'Inflation-hit' bus drivers to push for 8pc pay rise
Drivers for the city's three bus companies are demanding an 8 per cent pay rise this year to keep pace with inflation.
Their unions also want the daily pay for casual drivers to rise by HK$40.
Chung Kin-wa, of the Motor Transport Workers General Union, said the demands were based on inflation and the bus firms' profits.
'We're asking for an 8 per cent pay rise because prices in the city keep increasing. If you walk into any restaurant or supermarket, you will easily feel the pain of inflation,' Chung said.
He said that as socially responsible businesses, bus companies should share the profits with their staff. 'The bus companies are all making profits, so the staff should be entitled to share them,' he said.
Last year, the union called for a salary increase of between 7.5 per cent and 8 per cent, but all drivers were eventually given a 4 per cent rise. Chung said: 'The rise failed to keep pace with inflation as the [inflation] rate announced by the government was over 5 per cent.'
Chung said that, so far, the union had not planned any industrial action because negotiations with the bus companies had not started. But he did not rule out the possibility of a strike if there was no response to the union's appeals.
Drivers of New World First Bus and Citybus filed their request for a pay increase to the companies' management late last month.
Chung expects negotiations with the bus companies will start in April or May.
He would not comment on the prospects of the bus companies meeting their demands.
Of the 18,000 bus drivers in the city, two-thirds are members of the Motor Transport Workers General Union.
KMB raised fares by 3.6 per cent in May, while its subsidiary Long Win raised fares by 3.2 per cent.