Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Public servants deserve pay rise

By Fang Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-21 07:41

Public servants deserve pay rise

A candidate examines the test schedule for the local civil servant examination in Jiangsu province, March 23, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

The wildly circulated news on the Internet that civil servants salaries are being raised was "confirmed" with the publication of an article in Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po on Sunday and a positive response from a senior government official a day later.

Citing "authoritative sources", the article in Wen Wei Po, which enjoys a high degree of credibility on the Chinese mainland, gives details of the pay rise of government employees from the bottom to the State level. It quotes a source as saying that pay hikes could now become yearly or two-yearly affair.

At a press conference on Monday, Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister of human resources and social security, confirmed the increase in public servants' salaries, saying, "the (government) document has been issued to various departments".

The "wage adjustments", a euphemism for "increase in salaries", will be warmly welcomed by China's large army of public servants, especially those at the mid and lower levels who depend entirely on their salaries for a living. It will also mark a big step toward building a normal pay-rise mechanism tuned to national economic growth and prices.

Raising the salaries of public servants has been a sensitive issue for years, especially because the income gap between the rich and poor has not narrowed. Many people believe that a government employee's job is both well-paid and leisurely, not least because apart from their salaries, public servants are seen as a group that enjoys some tempting welfares such as government-subsidized housing, free healthcare and better education for their children. Some people even think government employees also get an opportunity to make money on the side (read bribes).

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