22 April 2019
Senior civil servants are in line to get a pay rise but not middle and lower-level staff. Photo: HKEJ
Senior civil servants are in line to get a pay rise but not middle and lower-level staff. Photo: HKEJ

Unions slam proposed pay rise for senior civil servants only

At least 3,408 senior civil servants can look forward to a pay rise of three percent, or HK$2,700 to HK$3,100 a month, if the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service (SCCS) has its way. 

The SCCS made this recommendation after it found the salaries of these senior staff, who are classified under level five of the five bands of civil servants and who are making HK$89,000 to HK$103,000 a month, lag behind private sector rates by as much as eight percent, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.

But the commission recommended no change to the pay levels of middle and lower-level civil servants.

It made the recommendations after a pay level survey of the civil service comparing the pay scale data of 128 privately run corporations as of October 1, 2013. A report of the survey was submitted to the government on Thursday. 

The Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants’ Association (HKCCSA) said the SCCS recommendations will only split the civil service as only senior employees could look forward to a pay rise.

The recommendations need to go through the Legislative Council and Executive Council. If approved, the increase would cost the government an additional spending of HK$110 million to HK$130 million every year.

SCCS chairman Wilfred Wong denied suggestions that the survey favors senior staff, stressing that it is an unbiased scientific study according to preset procedures and mechanisms.

HKCCSA vice president Li Kwai-yin said the organization has long opposed the use of a deviation of five percent in comparing pay rates, as the survey is only conducted once every six years. The HKCCSA suggested a deviation of ten percent to be more fair to all civil servants.

Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union chairman Leung Chau-ting said he was disappointed with the survey, branding it an attempt to benefit only senior civil servants.

Lawmaker Aron Kwok, for the Labour Constituency, said the government should work toward increasing the pay package for middle and lower-tier civil servants in order to mitigate the crisis of a retirement boom and a fragmented human resources structure, as well as to stop the brain drain from the private sector.

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