We'd legislate, regardless of bosses, were 'wage protection movement' ruled a flop in 2008, says minister Labour minister Stephen Ip Shu-kwan pledged yesterday the government would move straight to legislate on a minimum wage, regardless of objections by the business sector, if the newly proposed 'wage protection movement' proves unsuccessful. The secretary for economic development and labour was speaking on Commercial Radio phone-in programme On a Clear Day, where he fended off criticism that the proposal announced in Wednesday's policy address was a 'toothless tiger' since it only 'threatened' legislation in two years' time. Mr Ip warned that employers would have to bear the result of legislation if they did not join the movement and voluntarily pay cleaners and security guards no less than the average for the sectors. 'If we find them not responding to the movement after two years, it is very clear we will plan the legislation according to the timetable because we have already given them the opportunity,' he said. Mr Tsang said in his policy address that the government would 'set out to prepare for the introduction of legislation for a minimum wage' for cleaners and security guards if a review in two years found the campaign had failed. Mr Ip refused to say how many employers would need to join the movement before it was deemed to have delivered 'satisfactory results', saying that it was something for the Labour Advisory Board to decide. 'Should we make a 90 per cent participation rate or more than 90 per cent the yardstick? That would have to be determined by the board,' he said. The minister's comments were seen as a further assurance to unionists disappointed by what they saw as a lack of government commitment to legislation. Yesterday, labour representatives were still considering whether to mount a legal challenge to Mr Tsang's refusal to invoke the Trade Boards Ordinance, passed in the 1940s. The law empowers the chief executive to appoint a committee to set wage levels in specific trades. Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Kwong Chi-kin said the group would abandon its plan to launch a judicial review if there was a clear promise from the government that it would propose a minimum wage law in two years, regardless of whether or not there was a satisfactory result to the movement. 'No one likes to fight a lawsuit, but the problem now is that the government's stance is very ambivalent and we are not sure how they would evaluate the movement in two years' time, or if they would consider legislating then,' Mr Kwong said. 'If we get a clear promise that in two years' time they would legislate without this review process, then that is something that the labour sector can accept.' Speaking on an RTHK Radio phone-in, Mr Tsang said he did not wish to see the minimum wage debate played out in the courts, as it was 'a matter for the people'. He said he believed the trade ordinance was not a good foundation for enforcing a minimum wage, although he respected lawmakers' right to raise legal challenges. He warned that taking the minimum wage debate to the Legislative Council now 'would be a very, very bloody fight' and that 'the community will be torn apart' as a result.