Construction pay to rise in bid to attract youth to industry, says union

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 October, 2013, 4:03am

About 200,000 construction workers will get pay increases ranging from 5 per cent to 20 per cent after November.

The wage increases were designed to attract "new blood" to less popular jobs to replace ageing workers, but would have little impact on construction costs, one union said.

Concreters will receive the highest pay rise, going from HK$1,500 to HK$1,800 a day. The Construction Industry Employees General Union said their daily pay would rise to HK$2,000 next year. For carpenters working on formwork for sites, daily pay will rise next year from HK$1,500 to HK$1,750. Iron and steel workers in the city, who number fewer than 2,000, will see their daily wage climb from HK$1,490 to HK$1,710 in 2014. Other workers, including painters and stonemasons, will get pay increases of about 5 per cent.

The union said labourers' wages made up less than 40 per cent of construction costs and could be factored into tender prices. "The pay rise is basically calculated to match inflation and market trends," said Chow Luen-kiu, the union's chairman.

"It's hard to recruit new blood to some of the unpopular jobs such as concreting and formwork carpentry. So we're announcing these 2014 pay rises early in order to attract youngsters to join our industry," he said.

The average age of the 320,000 or so registered construction workers in Hong Kong is 50. Many building jobs required more than two years of training, Chow said.

Construction work in the private and public sectors is booming. According to the latest city budget, there will be several major infrastructure projects by next year.