Strike attendees may lose pay

Local | Sophie Hui 7 Aug 2019

Civil servants who refused to carry out their duties during the strike on Monday may lose part of their salaries, the Civil Service Bureau said.

This came after the Civic Party said some civil servants informed them that their bureaus and departments had recorded the attendance of employees in an unusual manner.

Responding to media inquiries, the Civil Service Bureau said it asked various government departments whether the strike affected their services and the situation they faced when employees were unable to show up for work due to the traffic chaos.

It said the move was in response to citizens' call for a strike and the non-cooperation movement on Monday, which disturbed railway operations and paralyzed many of the main traffic arteries in the city.

"The government has the responsibility to understand the operation of various government departments on Monday, as well as the impact the public transport service disruption had on colleagues not going to work," the bureau said.

It added the operations of various departments were generally smooth and public services provided to citizens were not affected.

However, the bureau added: "If a civil servant refuses to perform any or part of the daily duties, based on the 'no work, no pay' principle, the management can proportionately deduct the wages of the employee depending on the circumstances."

Its spokesman later added that it only asked from all departments about how their services were affected and how many people did not turn up to work during the non-cooperation movement.

The bureau did not ask for the name and personal information of employees who were absent on Monday, the spokesman said.

The government also responded to the strike and illegal protests yesterday, saying: "The protesters' organized action disregarded law and order, deprived the right of other members of the public to go to work and carry on with their daily lives, and seriously affected economic activities.

"The government is grateful to the civil servants and public service providers for their dedication to work, enabling the normal operation of public services in general and minimizing disruptions to public transport on Monday."

Meanwhile, Carol Ng Man-yee, chairwoman of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said 350,000 people participated in the general strike on Monday.

Speaking on a radio program, Ng said the number was an estimation based on the attendance of rallies in seven districts.

She added that it is believed about 10,000 people in each of the seven districts could not attend the rallies due to the traffic disruption.

She believes transport, aviation, retail, catering, finance and civil servant employees took part in the citywide strike.

She said the aviation sector was one of the most supportive industries, as 1,500 staff members from Cathay Pacific participated in the strike, which is half of the manpower the airline needs every day.

Cathay Dragon needs 900 staff working each day, but about 500 people did not go to work on Monday.

Some air traffic controllers also participated in the strike.

Ng also urged employers to show understanding and not to take action against workers who participated in the strike.

Ng said it is understandable that employers may deduct employees' wages for the day, but added it is unacceptable if they deduct bonuses, give them a warning letter or fire them.

She also feels the clashes dampened the main focal point of the strike, and insisted peaceful protests are also important.

"We are not saying street demonstrations are not important, but the power of peaceful, rational and non-violent protests cannot be ignored. There should be a balance between the two," she said.

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