26 September 2023

HONG KONG: Business seeks PS pay freeze

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The Chair of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association has pleaded with the Government not to grant recommended pay rises of up to more than seven per cent for the city’s Public Servants.

Danny Lau said such an increase would put pressure on his members to grant a similar increase for their employees.

“Then if employers cannot satisfy their employees’ wishes, they will leave the job and look for higher-paid work,” Mr Lau said.

“Then huge employee turnover will be a huge burden for the economy to recover.”

However, the city’s most senior Public Servant, Patrick Nip defended the projected rise, saying it was reasonable for Government workers to expect pay rises after having their salaries frozen for two years.

The Government-appointed Pay Trend Survey Committee has endorsed salary increases of 2.04 per cent for junior Public Servants, 4.55 per cent for middle-ranking workers and 7.26 per cent for senior staff.

Speaking on a television program, Mr Nip noted that the Pay Trend Survey didn’t reflect certain aspects of the job market such as companies that were forced to close down and lay off staff, as well as people who were asked to take leave without pay amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“However, it’s reasonable for Civil Servants to demand pay rises in view of the latest survey results,” Mr Nip said.

“Civil servants’ salaries have been frozen for two years and couldn’t even catch up with inflation,” he said.

“When the pay trend index is positive, should we continue to freeze the salaries?

“I believe calling for an increase is a reasonable view and demand.”

Mr Nip said the remuneration offered by the Government should be competitive to attract and retain talent.

The final decision will rest with the city’s Executive Council which is to consider other factors such as the economic situation, the Consumer Price Index and staff morale.

Hong Kong, 30 May 2022

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