Date
26 September 2017
Lawmaker Cheung Kwok-che (inset) says senior officials in government-backed social welfare institutions deserve the same salary boost as public hospital doctors. Photos: HKEJ, Internet
Lawmaker Cheung Kwok-che (inset) says senior officials in government-backed social welfare institutions deserve the same salary boost as public hospital doctors. Photos: HKEJ, Internet

Doctors’ successful pay fight prompts other groups into action

With authorities bowing to the demand of public hospital doctors for an extra 3 percent pay rise, calls are emerging from some other groups for a similar salary boost.

Legislator Cheung Kwok-Che, who represents the social welfare functional constituency, said on Thursday that high-ranking officials in social welfare institutions sponsored by the government deserve the same pay hike as senior doctors.

According to his estimation, more than 20 senior executives of such institutions are qualified for a 3 percent pay rise.

The salary adjustment would entail an additional expenditure of HK$2 million (US$258,062) per year for the government, he said.

Cheung plans to write a letter to the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Matthew Cheung, on the issue, Singtao Daily reported.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service also said that it will write a letter to the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and ask for a 3 percent pay rise for senior officials of its more than 400 member institutions.

Describing its fight is a matter of principle, the council asserted that the money for the pay rise should come from the SWD instead of the institutions’ own reserves.

The moves by the social welfare institutions came as Hospital Authority (HA) chairman John Leong announced Thursday that board members have unanimously agreed on a 3 percent pay rise for about 3,000 senior doctors and administrative managers in public hospitals.

The decision came after doctors staged a sit-in protest at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital the previous day.

The doctors had sought an extra 3 percent pay rise in line with earlier increases granted for senior civil servants in the city.

Leong announced Thursday that the demand has been accepted, but said more discussions are necessary to sort out details of the financial arrangements.

Among the things that need to be addressed are whether the pay rise should be backdated to last October and where the money will come from.

Leong aims to finalize the pay rise plan at HA’s next board meeting on November 19.

Following the apparent success of their campaign, the Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association — which organized Wednesday’s protest — said it will suspend previous plans to take the agitation to a higher level.

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TL/AC/RC

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