Two civil service union leaders have joined the Election Committee subsector race, urging their work colleagues not to remain 'politically apathetic'. Alliance of Housing Department Staff Unions convenor Lam Man-cheuk and chairman of the Public Service Employees General Union Wong Kong-sang were among the last batch of candidates to sign up in the labour sector when nominations closed on Wednesday. A total of 49 hopefuls, mainly trade unionists, are contesting the 40 seats. If elected to the 800-strong committee next month, the pair hoped they would be able to influence lawmakers, and possibly the future chief executive, on civil service matters. Comprising 38 subsectors - 35 elected and three ex-officio - the electoral college will return six lawmakers in September. The Government has yet to clarify whether it will also choose the chief executive in 2002. Mr Lam, who has been leading thousands of staff fighting privatisation of public housing estate management, said the reforms pushed by the Government in appointments, appraisal and productivity gains had prompted him to run for a seat. 'Civil servants should no longer remain politically apathetic. The civil service reform has proved that our benefits can all of a sudden be taken away. We need to speak out for our rights,' he said. The unionist conceded the possibility of selecting the future chief executive had influenced his decision to run. 'From what I experienced over the past two years, you can't do much when you are not in the political structure. We should actively participate [in the elections] to maximise our influence,' Mr Lam said. Mr Wong, a senior technical officer at the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, believed he would gain political influence even if the committee did not choose the chief executive.