Panel on Manpower -- papers-- 29 Oct 98

LC Paper No. CB(2) 495/98-99(03)

(Summary Translation)

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions ("CTU") has written to the Chairman of LegCo Panel on Manpower to express views on the Proposal for a Minimum Wage in Hong Kong from the Hong Kong Social Security Society.

Regarding the society's proposal for setting up a wage council modelled on Singapore, which consists of representatives of employers, employees and the government, to assist the government in formulating a policy on wages through consensus, CTU is of the view that despite its composition, the wage council is nothing more than an advisory body and has limited power. The formulation and implementation of the relevant policy are still in the Government's hands. CTU therefore suggests that the Government should introduce legislation on minimum wage to protect employees' interests. The level of minimum wage must be set above the poverty line.

As more than 80 countries in the world have ratified the International Labour Convention on recommendation concerning minimum wage, CTU urges the Government to follow suit as soon as possible.

CTU opines that the right to collective bargaining will offer the best protection to employees and will prevent employers from turning a minimum wage into a maximum wage. The legislation on minimum wage should be reinforced by giving employees the right to collective bargaining.