Oyster sauce maker Lee Kum Kee may cut staff or wages

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 November, 2008, 12:00am

Lee Kum Kee, the Hong Kong-based manufacturer of oyster and other Chinese sauces, has warned of possible layoffs or pay cuts amid the slumping economy. The warning comes as the company marks its 120th anniversary this year.

It said it would not rule out any option that might help streamline its operations and sharpen the company's competitiveness.

Rumours circulated yesterday among Lee Kum Kee workers in Hong Kong that mass layoffs were looming, and could be implemented as early as this month.

A spokesman for the company said: 'Like other companies, we are regularly reviewing ways to boost productivity and competitiveness.'

Asked if layoffs or a pay cut were considered, the spokesman said: 'We are not ruling out any option, but no decision has been reached yet.'

Established in 1888, Lee Kum Kee is a household name in the city. Its products are sold in more than 80 countries.

The company employs about 6,000 people, of whom 500 are in Hong Kong. Its main production plant is in Xinhui , Guangdong.

Meanwhile, the Communications Workers General Union said yesterday it had received calls from staff at PacNet, a medium-size internet service provider, saying that all of about 20 staff in the customer services and technical support hotline units had been sacked on Friday last week under a restructuring plan aimed at merging the Hong Kong hotline services with those in Malaysia.

The laid-off staff included some who had worked for the company for 10 years, the union said.

Union chairman Terry Ip Ngok-fung said the move was unnecessary, and 'moving the hotline service outside Hong Kong could also affect the quality of services provided to customers here'.