A BUMPER annual pay rise for 180,000 civil servants was defended yesterday. The double-digit rise had come under fire from employers. But Pay Trend Survey Committee chairman, Nicholas Chiu Sai-chuen, backed the findings, saying they were an 'actual and correct indicator'. The survey covers the pay trend of 69 companies with some 120,000 employees in the last financial year. And it suggested an average 10.66 per cent, 11.36 per cent and 11.38 per cent increment respectively for the lower band staff (earning less than $11,315 a month), the middle band ($11,315 to $34,690 a month) and the higher band ($34,691 to $69,060 a month). But the suggestion was criticised by employers as failing to reflect the true performance of the economy over the past year. Employers' Federation of Hong Kong executive director, May Chow Mee-yee, said it was about one per cent higher than private sector findings. She said a survey commissioned by the federation, the General Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries covering average pay rises of about 110,000 staff from January to February this year was 9.73 per cent. Another conducted by the Institute of Human Resources Management covering 100 companies showed the trend was 9.8 per cent. Miss Chow attributed the differences to government methods which took into account annual bonuses and covered 'too long a period of last year'. She urged the Government to reconsider their method. Staff representative Hung Kin-hung, who met Mr Chiu yesterday, was concerned findings would be unfair to the lower band staff because they might include unfavourable factors in the private sector, such as imported workers' wages. But Mr Chiu said: 'The findings have been collected by well-established methodology which is recognised by all the private sector and government representatives. 'Differences may arise among surveys done in a different time period,' he said, adding the committee would review the methods soon. He said the survey had deliberately excluded the imported labour factors, asking companies not to report those figures. Mr Chiu said that 'the finding has to be fundamental and consistent' so unusual factors should be excluded. After deducting merit factors, the actual pay rise is likely to be 9.98 per cent for the higher band staff, and 10.14 per cent for the middle and lower bands. The survey findings will be discussed by staff unions and Civil Service Branch officials. The staff side's pay claims would be submitted to the Executive Council in early June. Besides the staff paid by the Master Pay Scale, adjustments for the directorate grade and police officers will also use the findings.