The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions has suggested employers give their workers a 6 percent pay rise in 2016. The suggestion was made based on forecasts of GDP growth and inflation next year, the HKCTU said in a press conference on Sunday.

Credit rating agency Moody’s said in September that it expects Hong Kong’s economy to expand by 2.2 percent next year. Meanwhile, the SAR government estimates headline inflation in the city to be 3.1 percent this year.

retail industry
Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay shopping district.

“We think in order for employees to share the fruit of economic growth and to handle inflation, they should get a salary increase of 6 percent,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, general secretary of the HKCTU and Labour Party lawmaker.

Lee said some employers are deliberately playing up the slowdown in Hong Kong’s economy and the retail industry, using it as an excuse to refuse pay rises.

“This is unfair to employees,” Lee said.

The sales value of Hong Kong’s retail industry grew by more than 40 percent from 2010 to 2015 despite drops in jewellery and watches sales this year, the HKCTU said.

The government said last month that retail sales value in August decreased 5.4 percent compared with a year ago, while the number of visitors to Hong Kong dropped 6.6 percent, prompting fears of a “retail and tourism winter.”

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.