More than 40 contract workers at an MTR Corporation-managed housing estate protested outside Heng Fa Chuen station yesterday, accusing the company of reneging on its obligations under the government's 'wage protection movement'. Cleaning Workers' Union campaign organiser Wong Pui-yan said 100 cleaners were receiving only HK$16.10 to HK$22.40 an hour for working at the Heng Fa Chuen housing estate managed by the company. The MTR Corp is one of 1,041 companies that signed up for the government's voluntary wage protection movement, aimed at ensuring minimum pay for cleaners and security guards. 'Under the wage protection movement, a participating company has to pledge that cleaners hired by it or its contractors should receive at least the median wage,' Ms Wong said. According to official quarterly payroll statistics, the median wage for cleaners is HK$25 an hour. 'Most of the 100 cleaners concerned have worked for the contracting company for more than a decade. They not only cannot receive reasonable wages, the company recently even cut some of the part-time workers' hours from four to 31/2 hours,' Ms Wong said. 'They earn less by working fewer hours ... They have to finish the same amount of work in a shorter period. It is so unfair.' The union demanded the MTR Corp fulfil its responsibility as a good employer by paying a reasonable wage. 'The company should also enhance monitoring of its contracting companies and should blacklist contractors that fail to treat workers reasonably,' Ms Wong said. The MTR Corp said it always tried to meet the requirements of the wage protection scheme. 'The MTR contracts out all cleaning work and we always honour the pledge. However, in the case of Heng Fa Chuen, although we are the property management company, it is the property owners who are responsible for appointing and hiring the contracting company,' an MTR Corp spokesman said. 'We have already asked the property owners to look into the situation and hope to resolve the workers' problem soon.' The Labour Department said it would look into the case. The voluntary wage protection movement was unveiled by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in his policy address in October 2006. In his policy address last year, he pledged that if the scheme failed, the government would introduce a bill on a statutory minimum wage for security guards and cleaners.