Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong said today that he was following the current labour dispute between TurboJet and its employees and emphasised that according to current legislation any wage reduction required an agreement between the two sides.
This week it was revealed by Hong Kong media that the ferry company – part of the Shun Tak Group headed by Pansy Ho – has notified employees that it will reduce the wages of workers who currently receive salaries above HK$10,000 (US$1,249) per month.
Employees from the company were said to have been notified last Friday that they would have until January 16 to accept the salary reduction – set to become effective on February 1 – or otherwise see their contracts terminated.
The Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) indicated yesterday to have already contacted TurboJet in order to ensure the employment of the company’s local resident workers after the ferry company announced that the refusal of a proposed wage cut could lead to layoffs.
“I’m already aware of the matter and I already gave indications to DSAL. This wage reduction has to follow current legislation and an agreement between the two sides is required, with this agreement having to be sent to DSAL. Only then can this reduction be enforced.
The Secretary also expressed that any local workers employed in the company – a number he couldn’t specify – an always request help from DSAL, although so far no employee has done so.
Today, Shun Tak indicated to TDM Radio that the wage reduction was a ‘hard decision’ prompted by the losses incurred by the group last year after ‘unprecedented’ business and social conditions were recorded in Hong Kong.
Shun Tak indicated in its latest financial report that the number of passengers carried by TurboJet in its Hong Kong-Macau route had dropped 32 per cent year-on-year to some 4.6 million passengers during the first half of this year after the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) in October, 2018.
This decrease led to the ferry company – the brand name of Shun Tak-China Travel Shipping Investments Limited – to report some HK$70 million in losses in the first half of 2019, after recording some HK$186 million in profits in the same period last year.