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Court of Final Appeal: Pay Cuts for Civil Servants Lawful

The Court of Final Appeal ruled in favor of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government in the judicial review proceedings over pay cuts for civil servants on Wednesday.

In a unanimous decision by five justices on Wednesday, the Court of Final Appeal ruled that cuts in civil-service pay over the past three years are consistent with the Basic Law.

Joseph Wong, secretary for the civil service welcomes the judgment, saying the pay-cut decision was found to be fully consistent with the Basic Law.

Wong said he always maintained the view the pay-cut decision was lawful, reasonable and fair, and was accepted by the overwhelming majority of the civil service.

Wong said he has full confidence the whole civil service will, as before, continue to discharge their duties and serve the public.

He said after the pay cuts, civil-service salaries have reverted to the 1997 level, and there is no room for any further reduction.

Wong added the administration will continue to improve the civil-service pay-adjustment mechanism, including conducting pay-trend surveys, to ensure it takes into account the interests of the community and the civil service.

In order to trim the budget deficit, Hong Kong lawmakers in 2002 approved a pay cut bill for civil servants. The salary cuts were implemented in 2003 to 2005.

(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2005)

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