More than 200 union activists and employees of car parks owned by The Link Reit protested yesterday against contractual changes they say will bring more layoffs, longer working hours and lower pay. The protesters said The Link had signed new contracts with all the car park management companies that extend the work day from eight to 12 hours. Monthly pay was being cut to HK$7,300 from HK$6,000, meaning the hourly wage had dropped from HK$28 to HK$23, the union said. The Federation of Trade Unions estimates that more than 1,000 security guards in car parks will lose their jobs when the new contracts come into force on July 15. 'The government is trying every means possible to stabilise the job market amid the economic downturn. However, The Link is doing something contrary,' said Wong Kwok-hing, an FTU lawmaker. The group had received hundreds of complaints from car park employees, he added. Around 200 car park staff, holding banners and chanting slogans, marched from the Admiralty MTR station to the Central Government Offices at around 4pm, urging The Link to revoke all unreasonable contractual changes. Lui Shiu-hung, a car park employee at Kai Yip Estate in Kowloon Bay, said he and the other seven workers were notified earlier that Synergis Management Service would take over the contract from their original employer Wilson Parking to manage the car park. 'They told us that our working contract will end by mid-July and we have to reapply for the jobs if we want to stay,' said Mr Lui, 62. 'But we learned that they only need five people to work on two shifts instead of three per day. I'm now very concerned about my job, as I am the only bread-winner in my family.' A spokeswoman for Synergis said working hours and staffing levels were based on the market and contract requirements. The Link, which announced its annual results yesterday, was forced to delay its press conference for half an hour, to 3pm, because a dozen protesters from the League of Social Democrats were blocking the entrance to the conference room. When the press conference did start, The Link's chairman, Nicholas Sallnow-Smith, said it outsourced the management of car parks to contractors and its involvement ended there. 'Layoffs might not be avoidable in economic downturns. Yet in a broader point, as long as we have a successful business, we will generate jobs somewhere,' said Mr Sallnow-Smith, referring to the company's plan to invest HK$2.6 billion in improving its properties over the next few years. The Link Reit, a real estate investment trust, includes 180 properties, primarily shopping malls and car parks. In a written statement later, The Link said it had been specified in the contracts between The Link and the car park management companies that employees' salaries would be no less than what was stated in the quarterly report on wage and payroll statistics issued by the Census and Statistics Department. Meanwhile, the company also stressed it had upgraded the closed circuit television systems and entry-exit systems at all its car parks.