Civil service unions fight cop pay move

Local | Charlotte Luo 13 Dec 2019

Charlotte Luo

Civil service unions have hit out at a proposal by pan-democratic lawmakers to exclude the police from the government funding request for an annual pay rise for public servants, saying it sets a dangerous precedent.

The Hong Kong Senior Government Officers Association, Government Employees Association, and Model Scale 1 Staff Consultative Council (Staff Side) wrote separately to the finance committee ahead of its meeting today.

In a joint letter issued last week, pan-democratic lawmakers and more than 300 newly elected district councilors proposed splitting funding requests for the two groups and freezing pay rises for police officers.

They said the police have become "hit men" for the political regime and pointed to public discontent over the police handling of ongoing protests.

The Model Scale 1 Staff Consultative Council (Staff Side) said the pay adjustment for civil servants follows certain mechanisms and cannot exclude any department.

The Hong Kong Senior Government Officers Association said the pay adjustment mechanism is based on six factors, including net pay trend indicators, the economy, the government's financial situation and public servants' morale.

"It does not include any consideration over the performance of individual department or staff," it said.

The Government Employees Association said it hoped the pay adjustment would not be "politicized" or delayed.

It said civil servants are no different from other employees who want pay adjustment to meet inflation and life changes.

"We believe if members of the public have discontent toward the government department or public servants, they should express it through established channels."

It also said police officers are part of the civil service and should not be excluded from the funding request, adding there is no precedent for it.

In June, the chief executive-in-council decided to give pay rises of 4.75 percent to senior civil servants, and 5.26 percent to those in lower and middle salary bands.

However, Legco closed early for the summer recess following vandalism by protesters on July 1.

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