Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has been personally lobbying legislators not to reject the civil service pay-cut bill, warning that Hong Kong's credit rating might fall and the authority of the government could suffer if it is not passed. Legislator Lau Ping-cheung was called to a meeting with Mr Tung yesterday, where he was told that the vote on the bill next Wednesday would be 'very tight'. Mr Lau, a non-affiliated member who represents architects, surveyors and planners, is one of several lawmakers whose votes may be crucial to the controversial legislation, which seeks to cut civil service pay by between 1.58 per cent and 4.42 per cent. Last night, another non-affiliated member, Ma Fung-kwok, said he had also been lobbied by Mr Tung. Neither Mr Lau nor Mr Ma indicated their voting intentions. The government hopes the bill will be passed on Wednesday at Legco's last sitting before summer recess so it can take effect from October. Mr Lau said yesterday: 'Mr Tung told me, 'the votes are very tight . . . what is lacking is only your vote'.' However, he said he told Mr Tung he did not believe his vote was crucial. 'Mr Tung said it was very important for the bill to be passed as the government's ability to govern hinged upon it,' Mr Lau said. 'He warned that it would have a negative impact on international credit rating companies' assessment of Hong Kong's abilities to manage public finances should the bill be blocked,' he said. The government had originally hoped to reduce spending by $6 billion a year by reducing civil service pay by 4.75 per cent. About $3 billion would be saved under the present pay-cut plan. Although most legislators support the pay cut, views have been sharply divided over whether it should be initiated through legislation. At least 27 legislators have said they will vote against the bill. They include 21 pro-democracy legislators, three independents and three members from the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU). The government needs 31 votes if all 60 members turn up. Non-affiliated Andrew Wong Wang-fat, who earlier said he opposed the bill because of the way it was framed, said last night he was reconsidering because it now faced outright defeat. The FTU's Chan Yuen-han, also a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said union chairman Cheng Yiu-tong, who sits on the new Executive Council, had not lobbied union colleagues to change their votes. 'The government should not have any fantasy that we will vote [for the bill's passage].' But union colleague Tam Yiu-chung, who formerly sat on Exco, said he would support the bill as he was involved in the Exco decision to back it. Last night, a spokeswoman for Mr Tung would not discuss whether Mr Tung had personally lobbied Mr Lau or any other legislators. 'We hope legislators and the public at large will understand that we are left with no other alternative but to introduce such a bill,' she said. Mr Lau said he had told Mr Tung he was under pressure from his constituents, about half of whom are civil servants, to oppose the bill. He said he told Mr Tung he has already lost much backing from constituents in the private sector after the government decided to put the Tamar site development project up for global tender, instead of local tender. Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui told RTHK that 102 government staff unions, including two police clerical staff groups, have said they would join a rally on Sunday against the pay cut bill. At least 20,000 are expected to attend.