Unions representing the disciplined services expressed their dissatisfaction yesterday over a recent report on their pay grades. About 200 paramedics dressed in black T-shirts protested outside Legco, while lawmakers criticised the report, saying at a public services panel that it oversimplified the issue and fell short of what was needed. The review, conducted by a standing committee last year, covered 53,000 disciplined services staff in 29 grades and more than 100 ranks. In its report handed to the chief executive in November, the committee recommended increasing rewards for long service at the lower levels. But it did not touch on the issues the unions wanted, such as an overall review of the different pay scales the disciplined services use. The Civil Services Bureau, however, responded by suggesting the government defer implementin' suggestions, including a pay rise, until the economy was stronger. 'It is a special arrangement on the deferral proposal,' Secretary for the Civil Service Denise Yue Chung-yee told the panel yesterday. The meeting was attended by more than 10 unions representing the disciplined services. Miss Yue said holding off on the changes allowed the government to concentrate resources on meeting the challenges posed by the global financial crisis. Li Fung-ying, lawmaker for the labour functional constituency, criticised the deferral and asked what the criteria was for determining when the economy was back on track. Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, general secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, asked whether the government was using the recession as an excuse. 'It seems the government is getting advantages on all the issues with the global financial crisis,' Mr Lee said, warning about possible strikes over the issue. Police Force Council representative David Williams said the report did not provide a clear answer on whether the pay grade structure for the force would be changed. 'The report creates more problems and we will not be fooled by it,' Mr Williams said. Miss Yue emphasised the government did not have a preconceived opinion on the grade structure review and would listen to views from the staff side until April, when the consultation period ends.