Study on wage inequalities in the civil service was put on hold because it was not considered urgent, sources say A controversial study by the Equal Opportunities Commission on civil service pay has been shelved by chairman Michael Wong Kin-chow, sources have revealed. Sources told the South China Morning Post the $2 million study, 'Equal Pay for the Equal Value of Work', which began in May 2000, had been completed and revealed inequalities in the pay structure of the civil service. It is understood the study was discussed at the commission meeting at which Mr Wong also raised the issue of the termination of senior EOC officer Patrick Yu Chung-yin's contract. The sacking, together with allegations that the commission chief received air tickets from business tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung when he was a judge, have raised numerous calls for Mr Wong's resignation. Mr Wong was said to have told members he wished to 'put aside' the study because it was not urgent. One source said one of the concerns raised by a commissioner at the meeting was that the issue of the civil service pay cut made the timing of the report too sensitive. But another member pointed out the commission had undertaken to report on progress of the study every year, but the last report was about 18 months ago. A commission work report last year said work would continue on the study and findings would be released this year. The project was also reported to the Legislative Council home affairs panel in March this year as ongoing. Sources close to the taskforce conducting the study said the report had been completed and consultations and briefings with interested parties had been carried out. It was now at a stage where commissioners ought to hammer out policy recommendations and determine a timetable to present it to the Legislative Council. The study of the civil service pay hierarchy was the first phase of the project. The second phase was to tackle the private sector. Using a model to evaluate and compare jobs, the study found some surprising pay discrepancies across the civil service, a source said. For example, some senior female officials were found to have been overpaid, while some of the disciplinary forces staff were underpaid. The results of the study could provide a case for litigation for civil servants under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. A spokeswoman for the EOC said the project was still continuing and a synopsis would be prepared for commission members for consideration. Legislator Cyd Ho Sau-lan, a member of the Legco home affairs panel, said she wondered what issues Mr Wong considered to be urgent. Mr Wong is due to appear at the panel meeting this Friday to explain Mr Yu's sacking and other allegations. 'I want to ask him what his plans and objectives were when he took up the job as the EOC chairman,' Ms Ho said. 'Was his primary objective to cut costs? That is a reason he gave in the sacking of Mr Yu ... I doubt he shelved this study for the same reason, but if this is not urgent, then what agenda item is of urgency to Mr Wong?' Ms Ho said the report was a long time coming and the last report to Legco was almost two years ago. 'It is an important issue and should be pushed forward.' Ms Ho called on Mr Wong to be transparent and accountable in his decisions and warned he could not remain silent or he risked losing credibility both for himself and for the commission. Taskforce head and EOC board member, Peter Yeung Kong-hing could not be reached for comment last night.