About 1,300 demonstrators were on the march yesterday to urge the Government to create more jobs and refrain from public sector lay-offs. In an emotional appeal ahead of Wednesday's Policy Address by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, they called on the administration to offer solutions to combat unemployment. The rally was staged by 51 organisations, including 18 civil service groups. About 700 civil servants took part. Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Confederation of Trade Unions, warned that the Government's policies of lay-offs, corporatisation and sub-contracting were damaging the private and public sectors. Chanting slogans and waving banners, the protesters marched from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to government headquarters in Central. They urged the administration not to implement corporatisation plans and to stop contracting out civil service work. Many wore yellow ribbons around their heads bearing the slogan 'employment stability' in Chinese characters. Protesters left peacefully after submitting 20,000 signatures collected in support of their cause, as well as a giant rice container symbolising their hope for job security. The vice-president of the civil service Model One Staff General Unions, Wong Wah-hing, criticised the Government for trying to streamline its workforce through corporatisation and contracting out of services. 'The Government claims civil servants will never be forced to resign but if you don't join its voluntary retirement scheme you will face a lot of pressure,' he said. Secretary for Civil Service Joseph Wong Wing-ping said only a small number of civil service unions had taken part in the rally. 'We respect their freedom to join a demonstration. At the same time, they should not lose sight of their responsibility to serve the public,' he said. On workers' fears about the impact of corporatisation and contracting out of services, he said the Government had repeatedly assured staff concerned that such initiatives would not lead to forced redundancies. But the chairman of the Union of Hong Kong Post Office Employees, Thomas Cheuk Shing-tak, said the corporatisation scheme and contracting out of services had cost many jobs.