21 September 2019
MTR should pay more to its employees as their workload has increased, says a labor union. Photo: Bloomberg
MTR should pay more to its employees as their workload has increased, says a labor union. Photo: Bloomberg

MTR’s staff pay hike proposal leaves labor union disappointed

A railway workers’ union has criticized the 5.25 percent average pay hike offered by MTR Corp. to its employees this year, saying it is inadequate given the increased workload of the staff. 

The Hong Kong Federation of Railway Unions said most of the MTR staff would only see a 4.75 percent rise in their salaries even as they are handling more passengers.

“A lot of MTR employees have been working overtime for at least two to three hours a day due to the increase in traffic,” the federation’s chairman Lam Shiu-wai said, according to Ming Pao Daily.

Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan also said the salary increase percentage proposed by MTR is not satisfactory. He called on the commuter rail operator to offer a hike of at least 7 percent.

Labor activists pointed out that MTR is making good profits and that it can afford to pay more to its staff. 

MTR posted a profit of HK$15.6 billion last year.

Hong Kong’s rail operator announced Wednesday that it will raise the pay of its over 10,000 non-managerial grade staff by an average of 5.25 percent.

The company claimed that the hike was more than what others in the public transport and utilities sectors were offering.

It pointed out that the increase was also higher than the latest inflation rate, which stood at 3.8 percent for the first five months this year.

About 10 percent of MTR’s workforce who are rated as best-performers would pocket an increase of 7 percent. Together with the 13th month salary and other bonuses, some employees could look forward to a compensation package equivalent to 15 months worth of salary this year.

MTR said each employee would be given a grading of one to five for their work performance. Those with a grade five would be getting a seven percent increase, while those with grade four, three and two would see their salaries go up by 5.65 percent, 4.75 percent and 2.38 percent respectively.

Those rated as poor performers, or grade one, wouldn’t be getting any hike.

The company said nearly 55 percent of its staff would receive a 4.75 percent increase. The rail operator said the salary hikes were formulated with reference to the salary review results of over 20 corporations.

The MTR said its pay increase proposal is competitive. The offer took into account various factors including the market environment, the company’s financial performance and staff morale issues, it said.

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