Leung Chun-ying

Police unions slam 'insult of a pay rise'

Four unions representing all ranks write a joint letter to chief executive condemning proposed wage increases they say neglect staff morale

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 6:27am

Police of all ranks have told Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying that they feel "insulted, disheartened and betrayed" by a salary rise offer that led them to reject the government's pay adjustment mechanism.

In a strongly worded letter to Leung dated June 6 - two days after Secretary for the Civil Service Paul Tang Kwok-wai announced a wage increase of less than 4 per cent for the city's 170,000 civil servants - staff unions representing most of the 30,000 police officers said they were struggling to contain negative sentiment among the rank and file. The Chief Executive's Office last night confirmed receipt of the letter.

The letter, seen by the Sunday Morning Post, was signed by the chairmen of all four police unions - the Junior Police Officers' Association, the Police Inspectors' Association, the Overseas Inspectors' Association and the Superintendents' Association.

All but the Superintendents' Association on Friday said they would no longer take part in the Pay Trend Survey Committee, as they demanded an independent mechanism to handle police pay.

The unions said they would be "in a most difficult position" if the government's decision was not built on consensus and did not take into account staff sentiment.

"A significant number of staff feel insulted by the pay increase offers of 3.92 per cent for middle and lower [salary] bands and 2.55 per cent for the upper band," the letter read. "Those frontline supervisors … see any adjustment below inflation as a slap in the face."

It said officers "felt disheartened and betrayed" when Tang stressed the survey results were the "prime factor" in civil service pay adjustments.

The unions are demanding a universal pay rise of 5.01 per cent including annual pay increments. The Executive Council is expected to make a final decision by Tuesday.

Besides inflation, the mechanism takes five other factors into account, including civil service morale and the demands of staff representatives.

But staff sentiment was not taken into account, said Benjamin Tsang Chiu-fo, chairman of the inspectors' association, adding that many of his colleagues were disappointed.

"The new consensus-building approach in listening to staff views seems to be no more than a hollow promise," the letter continued. "There [is] less confidence in the process of pay adjustments and the leadership of Tang."

Tsang said they would not take industrial action. "Our doors are always open but the officials are always speaking in a bureaucratic tone. There has been no consensus in the decision and we just cannot swallow allegations saying we are sore losers."

Tang said it would be difficult to fulfil the demand to establish an independent pay adjustment mechanism for the police.

A police spokeswoman said management would support its staff to communicate with the government via existing channels to strive for a fair and reasonable pay adjustment.