Lower ranked government workers in Hong Kong's 160,000-strong civil service are to get a bigger pay rise than they initially thought.
Instead of receiving a pay rise of 5.16 per cent as expected, junior government staff will get 6.16 per cent more, the same as middle-ranking civil servants, the Civil Service Bureau said yesterday after the Executive Council endorsed the pay rise.
The 5.16 per cent figure had been suggested by the annual pay trends survey, on which civil service pay rises are based. But the chief executive and Executive Council decided to invoke a 'bring-up' arrangement, under which staff on lower pay grades see their wage rises match those of better-paid staff.
'Under the 'bring-up' arrangement, the pay adjustment rate for civil servants in the lower salary band may, subject to the decision of the Chief Executive in Council, be brought up to the net pay trend indicators for the middle salary band,' a bureau spokesman said.
The bureau said the pay offers were based on the pay trend survey, the local economy, cost of living, the government's fiscal position, pay claims and morale of civil servants.
The pay trend survey involves 116 private organisations, each with at least 50 staff.
A 7.24 per cent wage rise will be offered to civil servants in the upper salary band, in line with the survey.
Eddie Ng Hak-kim, a member of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management's executive council, said the civil service pay rise would not affect private sector pay.
'The private sector will only consider its own business environment, competiveness and prospects when determining wage increases,' he said. Many workers in the private sector received a generous pay rise last year, reflected mostly in the year-end bonus.
He was, however, concerned about the pay rise for junior staff.
'The wages of junior staff in the government is already way higher than that of those in the private sector. The gap is growing even bigger now,' he said.
The Federation of Civil Service Unions, which is mainly made up of rank-and-file civil servants, welcomed the wage increase.
'It will be a huge boost to civil service morale,' said its chief executive, Leung Chau-ting. 'With present inflation at about 4 per cent, such an increase can really help to improve our quality of life.'
The average private sector pay rise from January to October last year in an Institute of Human Resources Management survey