Holidays subject to China's approval

CHINA will be consulted as to which public holidays should be scrapped or added to the annual list to be implemented after 1997.

At present there are 17 public holidays a year, some of which may not survive 1997, such as the Queen's birthday.

The Education and Manpower Branch is conducting a holiday review and will look into the political and economic implications.

The Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Tony Reynalds, yesterday said the review would be finalised in the second half of this year.

Labour unions have repeatedly demanded that the Government declare Labour Day - May 1- as a statutory holiday because similar arrangement had been adopted in many other countries.

Speaking after a meeting with labour representatives, Mr Reynalds indicated that their request would be considered.

Mr Reynalds said they would discuss it with Chinese officials through the Joint Liaison Group before coming up with any decision.

A spokesman for the Federation of Hongkong and Kowloon Labour Unions, Mr Wong Kam-kuen, said they hoped the political row between Hongkong and China would not affect discussions.

They would seek support from other labour unions and political parties in order to push ahead with their demand, he said.