Unionists' vehement rejection of Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's proposed 'wage protection movement' has surprised top government officials who thought they had reached a compromise with labour representatives ahead of the policy address. Officials had been expecting a more favourable reaction after conciliatory remarks by unionists after a meeting with Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Stephen Ip Shu-kwan last week at which the scheme was outlined. Some labour leaders had accepted the deal and others had agreed not to have 'radical reactions' to the proposal, government sources said. But unions on Wednesday rejected the proposal as worse than a voluntary minimum-wage charter proposed by employers and one leader has threatened legal action. Under Mr Tsang's scheme, which is also non-binding, employers of cleaners and security guards would be encouraged to pay them no less than the average market rates. 'The government called it a wage protection movement as labour leaders thought the term charter too weak,' one source said. The government has vowed to draw up a minimum wage law if the system is proved not to have worked after two years. Federation of Trade Unions legislator Chan Yuen-han said a few days after the meeting: 'If there is a clear legislative timetable, I would reconsider. The tug of war has been going on for so long.' But Ms Chan said after the policy speech that the scheme as outlined by Mr Tsang was unacceptable. Her colleague, Kwong Chi-kin, also a legislator, yesterday went further, saying they would seek a judicial review against the government for not implementing the Trade Boards Ordinance, passed in the 1940s, which allows it to apply a minimum wage in specific sectors. A political analyst said he doubted the unionists' anger would carry over into opposition for Mr Tsang's bid for a new term next March.