Police union seeks to raise officers' retirement age

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 January, 2013, 5:00am

A police union is seeking lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee's help in its battle with the Civil Service Bureau to raise officers' retirement age and give them better medical benefits.

The union has written to Ip, who chairs the Legislative Council's panel of public services, asking her to bring the matter to the attention of the legislature.

Officers have expressed frustration over the progress of their talks with the bureau. The union wants a flexible retirement age scheme, giving officers the choice to extend their contract twice - each for 2.5 years - after the official retirement age of 55.

"Nowadays, people get married late … They need to work after 55 because they have to make a living," said the Junior Police Officers' Association chairman Joe Chan Cho-kwong.

But Ip said the raising the retirement age would have a big implication on the civil service as younger workers would be concerned about their chances for promotion.

"I think we must do a broad consultation within the civil service. If [any plan] is to be implemented, there should be a pilot scheme," she said.

The union is also pushing for higher quotas for public housing and better medical benefits.

Chan said the annual number of retiring officers was projected to rise from the current 450 to 910 in 2019, but the annual quota for public housing reserved for officers was just 235.

Officers also want a change in how the remains of their colleagues who die in the line of duty are honoured. Currently, the remains are placed at Gallant Garden, the cemetery honouring civil servants on die on duty.

Given the limited space, an individual's remains are moved out of the garden after six years, but the union wants the same respect that posthumous recipients of Hong Kong's top bravery award are shown - permanent burial at the garden.

Chan said the association's demands were backed by most of its 21,000 active members and three other police associations - the inspectors', expatriate inspectors' and superintendents' associations.

"These people gave their lives for the people of Hong Kong … and yet the government won't even let them lie there permanently," one officer said.

Police and the bureau said they would continue to maintain communication between staff and the administration.