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While businesses are hopeful that Hong Kong’s economy rebounds strongly once the dust settles on more than four months of civil unrest, the fall-out continues from the recent volatility.
The latest area to be hit is construction, with a prominent union recommending a pay freeze due to rising unemployment in the sector.
It’s the first time in more than a decade that the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union has made the recommendation and comes after the unemployment rate for builders hit 5% from January to August.
The wage freeze is mooted to commence on 1 November and would affect the livelihood of around 350,000 people who are supported by the industry.
The last pay freeze in the construction sector was in 2007, a result of the 2003-SARS crisis. However, according to the union said the current economic climate is “man-made and more serious than the SARS period”, it was reported in The Standard.
It’s also understood that the Minimum Wage Commission is closely monitoring the impact of the protests surrounding the extradition bill on salaries in the construction industry.
The commission has not ruled out the possibility that the next minimum wage review, slated for May 2021, would remain the same.
When chairwoman of the commission, Priscilla Wong Pui-sze, was asked of the likely outcome, she said, “the commission adopts an evidence-based approach where we review in a comprehensive, objective and balanced manner. We need to take social factors as considerations. Anything is possible. There’s no statement or regulation that the minimum wage must be added, subtracted or maintained.”