Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Transcript of remarks by SLW on Low-income Working Family Allowance and ATV wage arrears

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, on the Low-income Working Family Allowance and Asia Television Limited (ATV) wage arrears after a meeting with members of the Society for Community Organization (SoCO) today (February 11):

Reporter: Mr Cheung, after the meeting with SoCO, how would the Government help the grass roots in Hong Kong?

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: This two-hour session provided a very good opportunity for me to feel the pulse of the grass roots, particularly those on CSSA (Comprehensive Social Security Assistance), new arrivals from the Mainland and also single-parent families. They have some queries on the Low-income Working Family Allowance Scheme to be rolled out in May this year. Of course I took the opportunity, together with my colleagues, to explain in full the operation of the Scheme, its intended objectives and so on. And also I pledged that in the overall review of the Scheme one year after the implementation, we will take account of all their concerns and see whether there is any room for improving the entire system. We will keep an open mind but the most important thing is to get the system off the ground quickly as soon as possible so that it can benefit over 700 000 grass roots in the Hong Kong community.

Reporter: What actions will the Government take to help the staff of ATV and prosecute the management?

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: We are helping them on three fronts. Actually a three-pronged approach has been taken so far. First of all, on employment rights and benefits, we have operated a dedicated telephone hotline. In fact, the hotline has been operating throughout the Lunar New Year holiday and we have been receiving enquiries from 80 ATV employees. In fact, from last Saturday, before the holiday, we proactively held a special session for the ATV employees and 95 of them turned up at the Tai Po Civic Centre to hear a full briefing on their employment rights and benefits. So we have been preparing everybody who is in doubt. We helped them to the best of our ability. At the same time, the Labour Department has also canvassed over 200 vacancies in the private sector, particularly from media organisations, which we considered to be suitable for them. So if they want to change jobs, jobs are available at least for them to decide whether to take up the jobs or not. Finally on prosecution, we have stepped up pressure on the management. In fact, this morning, Labour Inspectors went down to ATV to continue to collect evidence with a view to instituting prosecution. So on three fronts, we have been pursuing the whole thing in earnest.

Reporter: So what should be the priority? Paying staff or paying fines ...?

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: As far as I am concerned, certainly the protection of the statutory rights and benefits of the employees comes first. No question about it. Our job is to protect their interests, first and foremost.

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

Ends/Thursday, February 11, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:47


Print this page