Executive councillor Cheng Yiu-tong says he disagrees with the government's pay cut for senior civil servants, despite rules binding cabinet members to support the council's decisions. The Chief Executive's Office did not comment on Mr Cheng's remarks. However, an academic who specialises in politics said that Mr Cheng had contravened the so-called collective responsibility rule. Speaking a day after the Hong Kong Senior Civil Servants Association accused the government of 'unfair treatment', the councillor echoed its view, saying the pay cut would hurt morale. 'It acted in accordance with the findings of the survey. But from the labour union's perspective, I do not agree with the pay cut. I hope their salaries do not have to be reduced, so that the morale of senior civil servants can be maintained,' said Mr Cheng, president of the Federation of Trade Unions. Mr Cheng had earlier advocated a salary freeze. But, in mid-June, Exco finally endorsed the government's proposed 5.38 per cent cut in the salaries of senior civil servants, in line with the results of a pay trend survey. The administration would freeze the pay of lower and middle-band civil servants, whose wages would otherwise be cut by 0.96 per cent and 1.98 per cent based on the survey data. Under Exco's principle of collective responsibility, members should support government policies after an official decision is made. They may remain silent, but should not oppose the decision. A spokeswoman for the Chief Executive's Office said: 'Members of the Executive Council are required to comply with the principle of collective responsibility. This system has been effectively implemented.' Ma Ngok, an associate professor at Chinese University's department of government and public administration, said Mr Cheng had clearly broken the rules. It was an example of decreasing discipline, he added. Former Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun, who resigned from Exco in 2003 because of differences over national security legislation, said that Mr Cheng should support the government's decision. 'As an executive councillor he [Mr Cheng] should support the collective decision. But it is understandable that he has another role. I don't think this incident is so serious that he has to resign.' Mr Tien's party colleague, Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, said Mr Cheng's case should be left for the chief executive to handle. In 2006, Mrs Chow, then a lawmaker and Exco member, voted in the Legislative Council against a government bill seeking to dispose of all medical waste in her New Territories West constituency. She later wrote to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to apologise. Last year, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong vice-chairman Lau Kong-wah - also an Exco member - criticised the government's performance as 'shameful' after it refused to send chartered flights to bring Hongkongers home after protesters blocked two major airports in Bangkok. Professor Ma said: 'The rule does not have much binding power now. Discipline scarcely exists. This will have a bad impact. If cabinet members can oppose anything as they want, the whole executive coalition will collapse.' Mr Cheng could not be reached for comment.