Wage law benefits 100,000, already: HKCTU

Updated: 2011-06-08 07:08

By Guo Jiaxue(HK Edition)

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Fighting back against criticism over the city's minimum wage law, a labor group credits the newly implemented ordinance with granting pay increases to more than 100,000 employees already.

The increases range from 5 percent to 50 percent, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) said at a media conference on Tuesday.

Most workers have seen their pay go up by more than 20 percent, the confederation said.

The organization said it came to its "rough estimation" by inferring from reports from media, employers, and workers.

Among the affected, 28,000 work in the catering industry, 26,000 are cleaners, and 47,000 are security guards.

A small number of employees in the delivery and property management industries also have benefited from the policy, the release said.

According to a 2010 report of the Statistics Department, 273,800 employees in Hong Kong were paid less than HK$28 an hour.

Ho, a security guard with 8-year experience, got a pay increase of HK$2,700 in May, from HK$8,700 to HK$11,400.

The 50-year-old said he immediately replaced his cumbersome old CRT TV with a new, flat screen TV.

"Money is less tight now," he said.

The pay increase is not effortless - some employees are having to battle employers who are cutting paid meal times, rest days, and reducing working hours.

The organization held the new minimum wage is a great benefit.

The long-awaited salary increase helps the grassroots to cope with inflation, and break the pay freeze that has kept wages low for years, said Mong Siu-tat, chief executive of the HKCTU.

The labor organization expressed anger over recent criticism to the minimum wage law, which had charged the higher wages for the working poor were responsible for a sharp rise in the costs of goods and services.

"That is not fair to the years of efforts by the labor community," said Mong.

He said the current price surge results mainly from the increase of commodity prices and rent.

"The minimum wage is just a price scapegoat."

The organization urged the government assess the effectiveness of the policy as soon as possible, "to help the community judge the policy justly".

China Daily

(HK Edition 06/08/2011 page1)