A CSB spokesperson noted, that with the Government expected to run a fiscal deficit this year, it needs to be prudent in handling civil service pay adjustment.
The Civil Service Bureau (CSB) announced on 12 July 2022 (Tuesday) that civil servants in the upper, middle and lower salary bands and the directorate will see a pay rise of 2.5% across the board for 2022-23, with retrospective effect from 1 April 2022.
A CSB spokesperson said the CE-in-Council has thoroughly considered the staff side's response to the pay offers and other relevant factors under the established annual civil service pay adjustment mechanism, including the state of Hong Kong's economy; the Government's fiscal position; changes in the cost of living; the net pay trend indicators; and civil service morale.
"In view of the uncertainties in the economic outlook of Hong Kong and that the Government is expected to run a fiscal deficit this financial year, as a responsible government, we need to be prudent in handling civil service pay adjustment," said the spokesperson.
"The Government affirms the efforts of civil service colleagues over the past year. In particular, during the fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, over 140,000 government employees have participated in anti-epidemic work by undertaking high-risk duties at the frontline and providing backend support to the anti-epidemic effort, while at the same time strived their best to maintain public services for members of the public. Hence, after balancing all relevant factors, the CE-in-Council decided to increase the pay at the same rate of 2.5% across the board."
The spokesperson added the government will handle the work in relation to the adjustment as soon as possible and has significantly compressed the work timetable, with a view to effecting the adjusted pay together with the back pay to civil servants in August.
The decision made on the civil service pay adjustment, however, has aroused mixed emotions from different parties.
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) said in its statement that it welcomes the government’s decision, which it believes "is reasonable given the difficult business environment".
The Chamber said that the earlier recommendations of the Pay Trend Survey Committee (PTSC) in May, which suggested civil servants of different levels might get a pay rise from 2.04% to 7.26%, has made the business sector concerned about "the burden of possible increases in staff costs that business will need to bear, especially SMEs, as a result of the ripple effect from civil servants’ pay adjustment".
However, as reported by RTHK, Hong Kong's civil service organisations and staff unions, including representatives of the Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union, the Police Force Council, the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association (HKCCSA), and the Hong Kong Senior Government Officers Association, didn't agree on the result and considered it as "unconvincing", "doubtful" and were "a bit surprised and stunned".
Lam Chun-sing, unionist lawmaker from the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions, also said on an RTHK programme that a pay rise of between three and four percent for civil servants "would be more appropriate".
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