A Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) union last night called on the firm's 13,500 workers to begin working to rule from Tuesday in protest at this week's sacking of 858 colleagues. The 2,000-member PCCW Staff Association said the action would go ahead unless the company's board of directors agreed to hold talks with the union over the sackings. The proposal has been supported in principle by a second, 6,000-member union. Staff association chairman Terry Ip Ngok-fung, announcing the plan at a protest by 200 workers outside PCCW's Lai Chi Kok office, said the action would affect the company's operations because most staff worked an average of 90 minutes overtime per day. But he refused to estimate how many workers would join the action or the level of disruption it may cause. 'We hope this will stop any further lay-offs from happening,' he said. 'This is the first step in our action and we will review our position later.' Cheng Chun-man, chairman of the larger Pacific Century CyberWorks Employees General Union, said last night it backed the proposal in principle, but would discuss how much it would advise members to co-operate with the work-to-rule. Cheung Pak-chi, chairman of the smallest union, the Cable and Wireless (HK) Ltd Staff Association, said the situation would be discussed in the next couple of days. Mr Cheung's union has 600 members. PCCW was unavailable for comment last night. On Tuesday, the firm announced it would pay $20 million into a fund created to help staff sacked on Monday, matching the personal contribution made by its chairman and chief executive, Richard Li Tzai-kai. The fund will also provide assistance to 506 workers sacked on December 5 last year. It will be administrated by an independent committee chaired by Christine Fang Meng-sang, chief executive of the Hong Kong Council of Social Services. The committee will work out who will be eligible and how the money will be distributed. PCCW said it had set up professional job-finding services and a career-counselling programme to help the sacked staff. However, Mr Ip said the establishment of the $40 million fund might imply more lay-offs were to come, describing it as hypocritical. He said sacked workers facing financial hardship should be reinstated. A Labour Department spokesman said it would monitor the situation and hoped both the unions and PCCW would keep the door to dialogue open. City Telecom, which started offering residential phone lines this year, said it would hold walk-in job interviews from Tuesday to Thursday. The company said it wanted to hire 30 to 100 new staff with monthly salaries up to $20,000.