Finance and bank staff will swell the ranks of demonstrators at this year's Labour Day rallies, trade unionists are predicting. 'Most who joined our rally used to be blue-collar workers such as cleaners, security guards and construction workers,' Confederation of Trade Unions organising co-ordinator Mung Siu-tat said. 'But we expect to have many from the finance sector and banking staff attend this year. 'We had about 2,000 people joining our rally last year and we estimate that the number will go up to 3,000, as many workers are feeling worried about the gloomy economic outlook and recent layoffs,' Mr Mung said. Ip Wai-ming, of the rival Federation of Trade Unions, also said more office workers would take part in its rally this year to air their grievances. 'Since the financial tsunami has affected mainly those from the banking sector, some will come out to join our rally to voice their discontent,' Mr Ip, a lawmaker, said. 'Some workers who have managed to keep their jobs are also unhappy to see their companies sacking their colleagues in small groups once every few weeks to avoid media attention.' The two union federations will hold separate rallies on the same themes - fighting the global economic crisis and protecting workers' 'rice bowls'. The chief executive of the Hong Kong Banking Employees Union, Wu Yiu-fung, said it had sent letters and e-mails inviting members to rally on May 1. 'We want to make it more organised this year. We hope employees who were sacked and those still with jobs will come out to voice their concerns,' Mr Wu said. He expected more members of the union to turn out than last year. Both union groupings said employees were particularly upset about companies using the economic crisis as an excuse to cut salaries and benefits or to require staff to take unpaid leave even though the companies were still profitable. Mr Mung said: 'All workers, whether jobless or employed, are basically pretty upset and the atmosphere of the labour market is very bad at the moment, pushing more workers to take to the streets.' Chan Po-choi, general secretary of the Staffs and Workers Union of Hong Kong Civil Airlines, said more members had expressed interest in joining the rally this year. 'Airlines have been greatly affected by the economic crisis and many flight attendants and ground staff have been forced to take unpaid holidays,' he said. 'May 1 used to be one of the busiest times for airline staff, but not this year due to a fall in passengers and cargo.' Mr Chan said only about 20 members of the union had taken part last year. He estimated significantly more would do so this year. Mr Mung said that, as well as workers, student unions at several universities had expressed interest in joining the confederation's protest to voice discontent over the graduate internship programme the government announced in the budget. 'Students are upset that the scheme seems to have created an impression that a university graduate is worth only HK$4,000 a month. They think that is a big blow to their dignity,' Mr Mung said.