Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said yesterday a minimum-wage law might not be necessary, despite continuing preparations for the legislation. His remarks have triggered concern over the government's stance on a statutory minimum wage, with unionist lawmakers demanding clarification of its position. Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Professionals and Senior Executives Association, Mr Tang urged employers to join the voluntary 'wage protection movement', introduced in Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's 2006 policy address, in which about 1,000 employers are taking part. Under the movement, employers are asked to pledge to pay cleaners and security guards no less than the median wage. 'Today, I appeal to you to take part in the 'wage protection movement'. Even if your company is already paying wages higher than the market level, I still call on you to join to show your support and commitment,' Mr Tang said. He added that the government would study whether a statutory minimum wage for cleaners and security guards was needed after the movement ended in October. Responding to a question from association vice-president Louis Shih Tai-cho, Mr Tang said it was not a must to legislate on a minimum wage. He said he understood concerns over possible marginalisation of disabled and aged workers in the job market if such a law was enacted. Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, said he was surprised by Mr Tang's comments, which appeared to be a step back from the administration's original stance. 'It contradicts what Donald Tsang and [Secretary for Labour and Welfare] Matthew Cheung [Kin-chung] have said - a law will be made if the wage protection scheme fails. We have already held several meetings with the government discussing how the law should be written,' Mr Lee said, adding that the movement had been a failure as shown by the low participation rate. Another lawmaker, Chan Yuen-han, of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said she did not find the government had switched its position recently. She suspected it was Mr Tang lagging behind in the progress of the discussions.