Unionist lawmakers on Tuesday said while they generally welcome this year's civil service pay rises, more should be done to try to retain government workers and attract new talent.
But civil service unions were much less happy about the 2.87 percent wage increase for senior workers proposed by the Executive Council, and the 4.65 percent rise for middle and lower-ranking staff.
The Senior Government Officers Association described the planned increases as disappointing. It said officials had ignored the efforts of civil servants in serving the government and the public.
The president of the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association, Li Kwai-yin, said the proposed rises would not help public sector pay catch up with inflation. She said officials had failed to seize the opportunity to boost morale among government workers who have increased workloads due to the labour shortages in the SAR.
Speaking to reporters at the Legislative Council, Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung said officials should step up hiring efforts to fill vacancies in the public sector.
"Although the pay rises are better than last year, we hope the government can think of ways to retain civil servants. We hope the government can conduct more surveys and career reviews to make recruitment more attractive, and stabilise the number of civil servants," he said.
Unionist lawmaker Lam Chun-sing echoed his views, adding that he believes the pay adjustments will boost morale and improve living standards for lower-ranking staff.
"Especially for the civil servants who entered the government after 2000, they do not have pensions but only MPF contributions for their retirement. And after the retirement, they do not have any benefits," he told reporters.
"Apart from the salary, the government can think more about improving their medical benefits."
Another FTU lawmaker Dennis Leung said authorities should consider further raising civil service pay to attract more university graduates to join the public sector.
He noted that there are currently 20,000 vacancies in the government, adding that many of its front-line workers are faced with stress and heavy workloads.