Civil service pay freeze the smoothest option: union

The Chinese Civil Servants’ Association has welcomed a proposal to freeze the salaries of government staff for a second consecutive year, after an annual pay survey suggested cutting government salaries.

Speaking on RTHK’s Hong Kong today programme on Wednesday, the union’s president, Li Kwai-yin, said a decision by the Executive Council to propose keeping salaries at the same level was the best way to balance civil service morale and public concerns.

“If there is a pay rise it will arouse negative public reaction,” Li told RTHK’s Janice Wong.

“On the other hand, if there is a pay cut, that will also arouse a strong negative reaction from the civil service team under the circumstances that the civil service has fought against the pandemic for more than a year, and we see that there’s still some way to go to control the pandemic.

“We still need the civil service team to assist the government to restore the economic recovery so that is why, on balance, we find that a pay freeze is a smooth way out.”

A government committee examining civil service pay had proposed cuts of more than 2 percent for the most senior government staff. But unions pointed out that the government implemented a freeze last year despite private sector pay trends pointing to a modest rise in wages.

Exco will make a final decision after consulting the Civil Service Bureau and unions.