A Hong Kong civil servants union representative has urged the government to promptly handle a proposed pay rise for the city’s public servants, after the Executive Council (ExCo) reportedly dropped it from Tuesday’s agenda.

Photo: Almond Li/HKFP

Fung Chuen-chung, the chairman of the Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union, appeared on an RTHK radio programme on Wednesday morning. Fung said that officials had originally planned to complete discussions about the suggested salary adjustment by the end of June.

According to local media reports, the item was pulled from the ExCo’s meeting at the last minute on Tuesday because the government had failed to reach a consensus and because the proposed pay hike had become controversial and should be handled by the next chief executive’s administration.

A civil servants’ pay trend survey released in May advised offering pay rises ranging from 2.04 per cent to 7.26 per cent for Hong Kong’s public servants, depending on their rank.

Pressure from private sector

Small and medium-sized companies have warned that such increases in the salaries of civil servants would put pressure on the private sector, particularly as firms struggle to recover from the fifth wave of Covid-19. Civil servant salary increases often serve as a reference for private companies.

“Is the business sector pressuring the government, stressing how difficult it was to run the business – especially during the first quarter – and that they are not willing to share the economic gains with their employees?” Fung said.

Photo: GovHK.

The union chairman added that civil servants would be carrying out the “mission of implementing One Country Two Systems” and future government policies. If the government hesitated to raise their salaries as suggested, it could be a setback for the next administration.

During her weekly press briefing on Tuesday, incumbent Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the pay trend survey was only one of the factors to consider. She said it was the ExCo’s decision whether to approve the advised pay increases.

Support HKFP  |  Code of Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.

Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.