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Pay cut for officials shows we care: Tsang

[ 2009-06-17 14:58]     字号 [] [] []  
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Hong Kong's top government official, who earns almost $50,000 a month, will take a 5.4 percent pay cut, along with other senior government officials, to show support for the public during the recession.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang said yesterday he and his senior officials wanted to show they stood "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the people during difficult times.

The amount shaved off Tsang's salary is about the same as the average household income in Hong Kong, which has been hit hard by the global downturn because of its reliance on world trade.

The Hong Kong economy has been shrinking since the third quarter of 2008 and unemployment is the highest it has been for four years. Companies have cut salaries, scrapped bonuses and asked employees to take unpaid leave.

"Hong Kong's economy has been badly hit by the financial crisis," said Tsang, who earns HK$370,000 a month. "We understand that everyone has been affected in one way or another: some suffered a pay cut, some had their bonus reduced and some even lost their jobs."

The pay cuts will take effect in July and mirror a proposed 5.4 percent pay cut for senior civil servants. The salaries of lower-ranked bureaucrats will be frozen.

However, legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, who is chief secretary for the Confederation of Trade Unions, said the cuts were not big enough.

He said Tsang should follow his predecessor, Tung Chee-hwa, who took a 10 percent pay cut when the SARS virus pushed the territory into recession six years ago.

The top officials are political appointees and not officially civil servants. Civil servants criticized proposed salary restrictions, arguing pay increases recently had not kept pace with the private sector.


1. How big is the pay cut Hong Kong's top government official, who earns almost $50,000 a month, is planning to take?

2. When senior government officials’ pay cuts will take effect?

3. What did civil servants criticize proposed salary restrictions for?


1. 5.4 percent.

2. In July.

3. They argue pay increases recently had not kept pace with the private sector.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Pay cut for officials shows we care: Tsang

About the broadcaster:

Pay cut for officials shows we care: Tsang

Siberian-born Kristina Koveshnikova is a freelance journalist from New Zealand who has worked in print, television and film. After completing a BCS degree majoring in journalism, she won an Asia NZ Foundation/Pacific Media Centre award to work for China Daily website. Kristina previously did internships at ABC 7 News in Washington DC and TVNZ in New Zealand and has written for a number of publications, including The New Zealand Herald and East & Bays Courier.