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Speech by SLW at the opening of the Recruitment Centre for the Catering Industry

     Following is the translation of the speech by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the opening of the Recruitment Centre for the Catering Industry today (February 5):

Ladies and Gentlemen,

     I am very glad to see you all today at the opening ceremony of the Labour Department¡¦s Recruitment Centre for the Catering Industry.  This is the 11th day of the Lunar New Year.  May I first wish you all prosperity and good businesses in the Year of the Ox.

     Under the impact of the financial tsunami, ¡§preserving jobs¡¨ is on the top of the Government¡¦s agenda.  However, the continuous supply of jobs hinges on the sustainable development of the private sector.  Therefore, ¡§supporting the enterprises¡¨ is the basis for ¡§preserving jobs¡¨.   The establishment of the Recruitment Centre is our full gear effort to support the enterprises and preserve jobs in the catering industry.

     The latest unemployment rate was 4.1%.  During the fourth quarter of 2008, the Labour Department posted more than 20,000 vacancies from the catering industry, an increase of 5.7% compared with the same period in 2007. Currently more than 5,400 vacancies from the catering industry are still being posted at the Labour Department.

     In view of the possible hike in the demand for jobs after the Chinese New Year as well as the expansion plans of some enterprises, we have set up the Recruitment Centre to strengthen our job-matching role in the catering industry.  Job seekers can submit applications and attend on-the-spot job interviews in the recruitment centre.  At the same time, all our other 12 job centres will continue to enhance its recruitment and employment services to better suit the needs of individual enterprises, industries and job seekers by providing tailor-made services such as job fairs and bulk interviews.

     I would also like to take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt gratitude to employers for offering the vacancies, to trade union representatives for promoting our services to their members, and our staff who have worked hard to bring about the successful setup and full operation of the Recruitment Centre in less than two months. From now on, let us all work towards the common goal of preserving jobs in the catering industry.  Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, February 5, 2009
Issued at HKT 15:45


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