Govt proposes another pay freeze for civil servants

The government on Tuesday proposed freezing the salaries of more than 170,000 civil servants for a second year.

The Executive Council made the suggestion after taking into account a number of factors such as the pay trend survey, the economic situation here, and staff morale.

A committee appointed by the government to look at the pay trend in the private market had previously proposed cuts of up to 2.04 percent for government staff.

But a government spokesman said while the unemployment rate in Hong Kong still stands at a high level, the state of the economy has shown a clear recovery trend.

He added that the efforts and contributions of civil servants in fighting the epidemic over the past year are worthy of recognition.

“Although the Covid-19 epidemic in the past year has had a great impact on various industries in Hong Kong, labour market conditions will likely improve in the period ahead as the economy continues to recover, particularly so if the epidemic remains well contained,” the spokesman said.

“Local inflation may go up slightly alongside the recovering economy,” he added.

A final decision will be made after the government considers the response of representatives from civil servant groups.

A number of government staff associations had been calling for pay to be frozen, rather than cut, this year – pointing to the decision to freeze salaries last year despite a report suggesting government workers get a raise.

The chairman of the Senior Government Officers Association, Lee Fong-chung, said morale may be affected by a second straight year without a pay rise, but believes most of his colleagues will be understanding.

“I think most of us will understand that Hong Kong situation is not very good, so even a second year of pay freeze most of consider it an unavoidable situation,” he said.
Last updated: 2021-06-08 HKT 17:40