Telecoms giant faces industrial action threat PCCW contract staff are threatening to take industrial action this week after contractors for the telecommunications giant were told their budget would shrink 10 per cent. Hong Kong Telecommunication Industry Employees General Union chairman Ha Chi-hung said about 16 subcontractors providing various services to PCCW would cut pay to at least 1,500 workers by 10 per cent as a result. Affected workers were mostly those providing technical support, like installation of telephone and broadband cables and cable television services, according to the union. Mr Ha said contractors were told of the budget cut at a meeting with PCCW representatives on Thursday and Friday. 'We do not really know what the exact pay cut for all contract workers is but we are expecting 10 per cent. We will surely take industrial action if the salary cut is really 10 per cent.' Contractors would inform workers about pay cuts today. 'We will decide what industrial action to take after we know what the new salary rate is,' Mr Ha said. 'We are planning to protest outside the PCCW office in Quarry Bay on Tuesday. We have also sent letters asking PCCW to stop cutting the budget and sought help from the Federation of Trade Unions and the Labour Department.' He said PCCW had slashed contract staff salaries by more than half since 2002. A PCCW spokeswoman said the company had yet to receive details of the union's planned industrial action. 'Our company has held discussions with the contractors on how we should work together during this difficult time,' she said. 'We have always had good relations with our contractors and will continue to be in close contact with them.' PCCW Employees General Union chairman Leung Ting-to said the union had appealed to all full-time workers to support contract staff. A petition against planned layoffs and pay cuts had already attracted several hundred signatures and the union would go to the PCCW office in Lai Chi Kok tomorrow morning to collect more signatures. News of the pay cuts comes amid mounting public pressure for a swift and thorough investigation into alleged vote-rigging during a controversial HK$15.9 billion bid to privatise PCCW. Protesting in Central yesterday, a group of minority shareholders called on the government to urge the Securities and Futures Commission to look into the matter. A letter submitted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which led the protest, called on Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to uphold the rights of minority shareholders, and said the High Court should postpone the February 24 hearing into the privatisation if necessary to accommodate an investigation. Speaking at a City Forum discussion on the privatisation yesterday, DAB lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king and the Democratic Party's James To Kun-sun said local laws had not kept up with market developments and needed to change.