Three civil service unions on Thursday have joined arms to oppose a call by pan-democrats to exclude Hong Kong's embattled police from the government funding request for public servants' annual pay rise.
The separate submissions from Hong Kong Senior Government Officers Association, Government Employees Association, and Model Scale 1 Staff Consultative Council (Staff Side), came a day ahead of the legislature's finance committee meeting, which is set to scrutinise the funding application for the pay rise concerning more than 176,000 civil servants.
The development was prompted by a joint letter from pro-democracy lawmakers and almost 400 newly elected district councillors from the same camp on Monday, where they asked the government to remove police from the funding request. They argued there must be a separate discussion on pay rises for police, with the force coming come under fire for their handling of anti-government protests since June.
Hong Kong Senior Government Officers Association said the pay rise mechanism hinged on six factors, including the economy, the government's financial situation and public servants' morale.
"It does not include any consideration over the performance of individual department or staff," it wrote.
The association appealed to lawmakers to respect the existing mechanism which had been recognised by both the unions and the government for years.
Government Employees Association, which had close ties with the Beijing-friendly Federation of Trade Unions, said the pay rise should not be politicised and members of the public should express their discontent towards public servants through established channels.
"Police officers are part of the civil service. We do not agree with the suggestion to hive off their pay rise from the funding request," it wrote. "There is no precedent for that."
Model Scale 1 Staff Consultative Council (Staff Side), representing junior staff, said the funding application for the pay increments had already been postponed for months.
The item was originally expected to be scrutinised before the Legislative Council's summer recess, but it was forced to close early after protesters stormed and vandalised the building on July 1.
In June, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her Executive Council decided to give senior civil servants pay increments of 4.75 per cent, and rises of 5.26 per cent for those in the lower and middle salary bands.
The city's police force has been criticised by human rights group and pan-democrats for their heavy-handed approach towards protesters in the increasingly violent confrontations. Since June, more than 16,000 rounds of tear gas, 10,000 rubber bullets, 2,000 beanbag rounds and 1,850 sponge grenades have been fired at protesters, who have been throwing petrol bombs, bricks, and shooting at police with bows and arrows.
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