The Secretary for Civil Service, Patrick Nip, on Sunday said it’s reasonable for government workers to expect pay rises after having their salaries frozen for two years.
He was commenting on the proposed pay rises for civil servants - the figures of which were criticised by some business groups for being way too high and “out of touch”.
The government-appointed Pay Trend Survey Committee earlier endorsed salary increases of 2.04 percent for junior civil servants, 4.55 percent for middle-ranking workers and 7.26 percent for senior staff.
Speaking on a television programme, Nip noted that the pay trend survey didn't reflect certain aspects of the job market such as companies that were forced to close down and lay off staff, as well as people who were asked to take no pay leave amid the coronavirus outbreak.
However, he said it's reasonable for civil servants to demand pay rises in view of the latest survey results.
"Civil servants' salaries have been frozen for two years and couldn't even catch up with inflation. When the pay trend index is positive, should we continue to freeze the salaries? I believe calling for an increase is a reasonable view and demand," he said.
He added that remuneration offered by the government should be competitive to attract and retain talent.
The civil service chief stressed the Executive Council will consider other factors such as Hong Kong's economic situation, the consumer price index and staff morale, before making a final decision on the matter.