Hong Kong

Unions displeased with MTR pay offer

By Ming Yeung (HK Edition)
Updated: 2011-07-07 08:01
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Staff unions of the MTR Corporation have expressed their disappointment with the company's pay raise offer.

The city's only rail operator said it will offer it's "top performing" staff pay increases of roughly 6.8 percent under its performance-based salary review plan.

The system based on a descending five-point scale offers level 4 employees a 5.4 percent increase. Level 3 workers will be given a 4.5 percent increase. The remainder of staff will be given a scant 2.3 percent, or nothing.

Most employees are also entitled to two types of bonus - 20 percent and 85 percent of one month's pay.

Unions had demanded a 7 percent raise across the board.

Union representatives met with corporate management on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the salary adjustment.

After the meeting, Lam Wai-keung, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong MTR Staff General Association, expressed "regret and disappointment" to the offer.

"Over half of staff, getting a 4.5 percent salary increase, will not share in the company's profits," Lam said. "At the same time, the company ignored their contributions as well as the hardships facing the inflation."

"We strongly demand the company to continue communicate with unions to formulate necessary and reasonable adjustment," Lam added.

The city's overall consumer prices rose by 5 percent year on year in May.

The Hong Kong Railway Employers Union delegates staged a walkout in the middle of the meeting to show their disapproval of the offer.

Poon Kin-pong, the union's chairman, complained that the company discriminates against frontline workers.

"Employers in senior positions are getting a double-digit percent increase but the already low-paid staff get only single-digits. This only shows that the company shows favoritism to the senior (staff)," said Poon.

MTR's net profit for 2010 rose to HK$12.06 billion, from HK$9.64 billion in 2009. The average pay increase in 2010 was 2.5 percent.

Lo Tung-ki, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Railway Workers General Union, criticized the scaling system, calling it too "harsh" since around half of staff are appraised as "average".

"Most staff have done their best to maintain qualified and efficient service to the public and their hard work should be reasonably rewarded," Lo said.

Spokesman for the MTR said the company had consulted 28 well regarded, large-scale enterprises before formulating its benchmark pay increases.

Unions said they will consult their members to "determine the way forward".

michelle@chinadailyhk.com

China Daily

(HK Edition 07/07/2011 page1)

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