The government is to bring construction companies and union leaders together early this week to seek ways to resolve disputes over unpaid wages after a violent clash at a site in Yau Tong last Friday. Brenda Cheng Wai-yu, acting principal labour officer of the Labour Department, said the Permanent Secretary for Development and Labour, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, would chair the meeting. She urged construction workers yesterday to be patient and flexible in resolving wage disputes under the employment law. 'As the principal contractor is not the direct employer of the workers, it might take some time to verify the workers' identity. 'We urge the workers to be patient, to be flexible and restrained. The Labour Department pledges to do the best in this situation and to ensure both the workers and the principal contractors will be given protection under the law,' Ms Cheng said. Yesterday, about 40 workers seeking unpaid wages met representatives from principal contractor Shui On Construction and its sub-contractor, Choi's Brother Engineering, in a meeting organised by the Labour Department. The workers were promised that this week Shui On would pay up to two months' back pay, as required under employment law. The workers claim the sub-contractor owes at least $10 million, dating back to late last year, to 100 employees working at seven construction sites. They said some had to borrow money from friends and relatives to support their families. On Friday, about 30 workers trying to claim their unpaid wages stormed the Yau Tong construction site and clashed with police. During the clash, a policewoman pulled out her pistol to try to maintain order. Twenty-three workers were arrested but were released after paying $500 bail. Two workers said they had lodged complaints against police officers who allegedly assaulted them during the clash. A police spokesman said yesterday that the cases had been transferred to the complaints unit. Cheng Yiu-tong, an executive councillor and chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, yesterday warned there would be serious consequences if police did not resolve the case immediately. He said it was not simply about seeking unpaid wages and that the issue had been controlled by some 'influential figures'. He did not elaborate. 'What we fear most is that the case will involve some elements which are not related to tracing back unpaid salaries - namely, the infiltration of influential figures to incite [workers' sentiments]. Under such circumstances, it will be difficult to control the situation,' he said. Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping said on RTHK yesterday he believed the public had resorted to violence as they felt their interests had been left unprotected and that effective channels were unavailable for them to vent grievances. Meanwhile, a further 130 catering industry workers lost their jobs yesterday when two more restaurants closed, with employees claiming they were owed more than $2 million in unpaid wages. About 90 employees of Savoriness Cuisine, in Castle Peak Road, Kwai Chung, arrived yesterday to find the shutters down and the owners nowhere to be found. Staff estimated they were owed more than $1.5 million. The restaurant only opened early this year, but some staff said they had not been paid for two months. In Tai Wai, yesterday's sudden closure of Kwei Fei Chicken restaurant left more than 40 people jobless. They said they were owed about $800,000. A Labour Department spokeswoman said it had not received any formal complaints from staff of either restaurant.