Minimum wage in Hong Kong to be raised

HRM 19 Dec 2012

Labour minister Matthew Cheung announced its plans to raise the city’s minimum wage to HK$30 (US$3.87) an hour, despite fierce opposition from employers.

Cheung said that the raise represents a 7.1% increase from the current HK$28 pay per hour, which was introduced in May last year to tackle a widening income gap between the rich and poor.

"(The new rate) will be effective from May 1 next year if it is approved by the legislative council," Cheung said, in a report by AFP. He added that around 320,000 workers are expected to benefit from the adjustment.

However, this hike has been criticised not only by employers, but also by labour groups as being inadequate. Critics said that the raise was too small to cover inflation and the high cost of living in Hong Kong.

Known for its many rich tycoons, the financial hub is also home to hundreds of thousands of workers who live on hourly wages sometimes as low as US$2 an hour prior to the introduction of the minimum wage.

Hong Kong's inflation rose 5.3% year-on-year in 2011, and may gain 3.9% this year according to a government forecast.

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