PLC Paper No. CB(2) 478(03)
(Letterhead of the Government Electrical & Mechanical Works Supervisors, Craftsmen & Workmen Association)
Our Ref: A97/10(6)
18 October 1997
||Hon IP Kwok-him
Panel on Public Service
Provisional Legislative Council of the HKSAR
Dear Mr IP,
In mid-August 1997, our Association was informed by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (E&MSD) that, due to its uncertain future in operating as a trading fund department, staff members of eight grades in the E&MSD would be appointed on agreement terms as from September this year.
The grades affected include mechanical/electrical/air-conditioning engineers, trainee engineers, radio mechanics and electrical and mechanical artisans. Even apprentices who have just completed training in early September are also affected in their appointment as artisans, notwithstanding that they have been trained by the E&MSD for four years.
According to the E&MSD, arrangements will be made for the 25 apprentices mentioned above to formally sign their agreements with the department in mid-October. Each of them will be offered an agreement for a period of two and a half years. Their fringe benefits such as medical benefits, leave entitlements and salary increments during the period of service will be more or less the same as those enjoyed by civil servants on permanent establishment. Upon completion of the agreement, renewal will be granted if possible, and a gratuity will be paid at the rate of 15% of the total salary drawn during the agreement period.
Our regret is that many civil servants on agreement terms, by contrast, receive a sum of gratuity upon completion of their contracts at a rate of 25% of the total salaries drawn during their agreement periods. Among others, they include lifeguards and library assistants of the Provisional Urban Council and the Provisional Regional Council, works supervisors of the Housing Department and drivers of the Chief Executive Office, etc. We query why the electrical and mechanical artisans of the E&MSD should receive their gratuities only at the rate of 15% of the total salaries upon completion of their agreements? It seems that such unfairness results from the Government's lack of a clear policy regarding the appointment of civil servants on agreement terms.
We have lodged a strong protest over this issue with the E&MSD and the Civil Service Bureau (CSB), pointing out the unfairness of the matter. The CSB's reply to our Association only contained such commonplaces as the financial independence of individual departments and difficulties encountered by individual grades in recruiting staff, etc. However, after studying the reply in detail, we consider the CSB's arguments unacceptable and unconvincing. Therefore, it is our hope that the Panel would examine the need for setting a standard rate of gratuity payment for all contract staff in the public sector.
Chairman of Government Electrical & Mechanical
Works Supervisors, Craftsmen
& Workmen Association