Unions representing the disciplined forces yesterday warned they would take 'any action within the law' to protest against wage cuts that broke from the established pay-setting mechanisms. But they ruled out a strike and immediate action. They also condemned government officials for 'smearing their good names' and destroying staff morale. After a meeting of unionists representing 23 disciplined forces unions and associations, spokesman Stephen Wong Wai-hung criticised Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung and Secretary for Treasury Denise Yue Chung-yee for making civil servants the scapegoats for the Government's deficit woes. 'Throughout the years we have contributed our lives to society, through dangers and social unrest we have never given up. But when the economy has gone bad, we have received all the blame,' Mr Wong said. In his Budget last week, Mr Leung proposed that salaries for civil servants could be cut by 4.75 per cent to help cover the $65 billion deficit. But he said a decision would only be made after the private sector pay survey - traditionally a key factor in deciding public sector pay - was completed in May. Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui earlier said that although pay cuts would displease officers he thought they would accept them if they were in line with the pay survey. Mr Wong said they would be willing to talk to the administration if the annual pay review was adhered to. 'The bottom line is that we definitely won't strike, but we won't rule out taking any action within the law to fight for our rights,' he said, saying they could take to the streets, stage hunger strikes or work to rule as a final resort. Mr Wong said the Government should look at other means of cutting costs, including reducing services. The group also demanded to meet Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to voice their grievances and is planning to lobby legislators and academics. Secretary for Civil Service Joseph Wong Wing-ping said yesterday he admired the officers for showing self-restraint and added that dialogue would be kept open. He said the 4.75 per cent figure was only an 'assumption' and any final decision would be in line with the annual pay review mechanism. 'But according to civil service regulations, the Government can unilaterally alter terms of civil servants' employment,' Mr Wong said. Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said she believed officers would not strike since to do so was illegal. However, a Security Bureau spokesman released a statement last night saying there was no law to stop them striking.