Hospital staff cancel sit-in after 8% pay hike offer

March 07, 2019 13:37
Hospital Authority chief executive Dr. Leung Pak-yin (center) shakes hands with union representatives of the hospital support staff after a meeting on Wednesday. Photo: RTHK News

Support staff of public hospitals have called off a protest after the Hospital Authority (HA) offered a pay rise of 8 percent.

The workers' unions had planned a sit-in at the HA headquarters on Thursday after negotiations for a pay hike with the authority broke down.

They were seeking an across-the-board 12 percent pay hike, regardless of their length of service.

When both sides met again for talks on Wednesday, the HA offered an 8 percent uniform pay raise for all support staff at public hospitals, regardless of whether they are new or old employees, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The unions said after the meeting that they accepted the 8 percent pay increase and called off the planned sit-in.

HA chief executive Dr. Leung Pak-yin told media that the pay raise would cost between HK$100 million and HK$200 million in additional expenditure.

The 2019-20 budget, announced last Wednesday, provided an additional recurrent funding of over HK$700 million to the HA, of which HK$290 million will be for hospital support staff salaries.

As such, the authority would have to apply for more funding from the HA board and the government to meet the additional expenditure, adding that the new pay levels are expected to be implemented from April 1.

The Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee has agreed in principle to the revised pay raise recommendation, Leung said.

Fung Kuen-kwok, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Medical and Health Care Staff General Union, said the pay raise offer does not include the additional 2.5 percent wage hike raise demanded by existing staff and will not be treated as part of the increase based on the annual pay adjustment mechanism.

Existing staff may get a raise of up to 13.5 percent, thus meeting the 12 percent hike that was originally demanded, Fung said.

While the sit-in scheduled for Thursday will not push through, the unions will still have to seek the views of their 11,000 registered members regarding the matter, he added.

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