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Transcript of remarks by SLW on Supplementary Labour Scheme and standard working hours

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, on the Supplementary Labour Scheme and standard working hours after attending the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's Education & Careers Expo this morning (January 28):

Reporter: (On a news report about the application by a Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge contractor to hire more than 500 workers from the Mainland, and how the Government would ensure that this would not affect the job opportunities of workers in Hong Kong.)

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Well, we don't normally comment on individual cases submitted under the Supplementary Labour Scheme. The point I want to stress here is that the Labour Department has put in place a very strict mechanism to safeguard the interest of local workers. For example, one of the basic requirements they've got to go through is a four-week local recruitment to ensure that they can't really get all the local workers to fill the vacancies concerned. These are very strict requirements that we will follow. So, whatever recommendation the Labour Department is going to put forward to the Labour Advisory Board for advice must have gone through these stringent requirements: a) safeguarding the interests of local workers; b) priority employment must go to local workers first before they start seeking views from the Labour Advisory Board.

Reporter: (On the work of the Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) and lobbying of the labour representatives to return to discussion.)

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: I really think that the six Labour Advisory Board (LAB) employee members, I really hope that they can respect in an objective way what has been happening in the last few months. Over the past month or so, I and the Chairperson, Dr C H Leong, have been working very hard to lobby the six LAB employee members. I really hope that they can go back to the committee so that the committee can finish its work. The committee is now poised to launch the final and second stage of consultation and during the exercise they will cover all sorts of scenarios including of course the concerns of the Labour Advisory Board employee members. For example, providing regulations to safeguard the interest of those low-income, low-wage, long-hours cohort, particularly those low-income employees and how to protect their interest and so on. All these will be covered in the consultation coming up. So we are talking about a really comprehensive exercise, to take stock of public opinions. I really want them to think carefully and really seriously consider coming back so they (the SWHC) can finish its work as soon as possible.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, January 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:46


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