Workers in the retail, construction and insurance sectors have been warned to expect pay rises of less than six per cent this year. But a Hong Kong Employers' Federation survey also found some staff had not received a pay rise when it fell due this year. It was reportedly the first time this had happened in the federation's 50-year history. Employers who hand out early pay rises were questioned during January and February, revealing their workers received an average rise of 6.04 per cent. Federation consultant Tam Chuek-kit told a business seminar yesterday that six of these companies had not given their workers any pay rise. 'They represented about 3.2 per cent of our total number of members. About 500 staff members were affected,' Mr Tam said. The federation has since spoken to firms that announce pay rises in June or July for their response to the survey. 'Most we had contacted said they found 6.04 per cent a bit high under the current economic situation,' Mr Tam warned. Sectors hardest hit could include retail, construction and insurance, he said. Meanwhile, the Employees' Retraining Board has announced a new programme for next month to retrain workers for the telecommunications industry. The course content will include lessons in installing lines and equipment, block wiring and cable jointing.