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No further pay cuts for HK civil service
By Tonny Chan (China Daily HK Edition)
Updated: 2004-09-20 08:51

Civil servants in Hong Kong have been assured that the government has no further plan to reduce their salaries after the second phase of pay cuts in January next year.

Secretary for Civil Service Joseph Wong made the assurance Sunday after a ceremony commending 75 civil servants from 37 departments for outstanding performance.

Speaking after the presentation of the Secretary for the Civil Service's Commendation Awards to the winners, Wong revealed that the government was discussing the application of Pay Level Survey findings in future with major staff unions.

The survey is one of the yardsticks the government usually refers to when reviewing staff pay every year.

"I do not intend to go into details of our discussions. But it is important to bear in mind that, ultimately, we would issue a consultation paper which will set out the government's position on the methodology of the Pay Level Survey as well as how the government intends to apply the results to the civil service," Wong said.

"It is my objective to arrive at a consensus on these two very important and highly controversial subjects on the basis that whatever we decide will be acceptable to the general public as well as the civil service at large," he said.

At the ceremony, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said civil servants had made an unprecedented contribution to the implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" and to the economic transformation taking place in the SAR.

"The civil servants receiving the awards this afternoon are our best examples. I would like to thank them on behalf of the government and the citizens," Tung said.

Wong said the government attaches great value to contributions made by civil servants.

"After a review and consultation with departments and staff representatives, we have introduced the Secretary for Civil Service's Commendation Award Scheme. The scheme was launched earlier this year to give awards to civil servants for their consistent meritorious performance in their daily work," Wong said.

He said that "meritorious" performance was a key qualifying criterion when officers were selected for promotion.

"In this regard, I am pleased to inform you that in the first eight months this year, 1,087 officers in 93 grades have been promoted," he said. "It is my sincere hope that colleagues who receive the award today will be promoted and get higher remuneration in future."

Police chief inspector Michael Yu, one of the 75 commended, said: "Certainly, I am happy. An award as such can always boost staff morale. Many civil servants have been working tirelessly behind the scenes and yet their contributions are seldom known to the public."

He was given the award for contributing immensely to strengthening the police's ability in detecting counterfeits and forgeries. Of his 30 years with the police, he has been with the force's Counterfeit and Forgery Division for the past 10 years.

Yu said he was pleased to hear Wong's assurance that there was no further plan for pay cuts after January.

"Nobody would like to have their pay reduced. Yet, as civil servants, we also need to understand the government's fiscal deficits," he said, adding a pay freeze without further cuts would be good enough for him.

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