SLW continues visit in Beijing (with photos)
Mr Cheung first met with the Vice-president of the All-China Women’s Federation, Ms Meng Xiaosi, to exchange views on women’s policies. He stressed that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government had spared no effort in promoting women’s well-being, rights and benefits. The concept of gender mainstreaming was incorporated into major government policies and measures since last year to ensure that men and women had equitable access to, and benefit from, society’s resources and opportunities. The gender benchmark target for women’s participation in government advisory and statutory bodies (ASBs) had been raised from 30 per cent to 35 per cent with a view to encouraging greater participation of women in ASBs.
Noting that women formed an indispensable part of Hong Kong’s labour force, Mr Cheung said the HKSAR Government was committed to enhancing women’s employment and unleashing their potential through a multi-pronged approach. These included comprehensive planning on child care and elderly care services, promotion of family-friendly working environment as well as provision of more part-time jobs and retraining opportunities for women.
Mr Cheung later met with the Director-General of General office (Department of International Cooperation and Department of Finance) of the State Administration of Work Safety, Mr Ou Guang, to brief him on the latest development of occupational safety in Hong Kong. Mr Cheung said that the Government was committed to fully uplifting the level of occupational safety and health in Hong Kong through a three-pronged strategy – legislation and enforcement, education and training as well as publicity and promotion.
He also talked about various challenges facing the construction industry in Hong Kong. According to the forecast by the HKSAR Government and the Construction Industry Council, the annual expenditure on public and private construction works would stay at a high level of over $200 billion in the next few years. The commencement of a range of mega infrastructural projects had added pressure to the industry’s resources and manpower. The Labour Department would continue to strive to prevent accidents caused by systemic deficiencies at source and to maintain close co-operation with the Administration of Work Safety of Guangdong Province in a bid to exchange and share experiences on effective ways to monitor and enhance the safety measures of mega construction projects, in particular those cross-boundary mega projects, and the quality of such measures.
In view of the fact that Hong Kong and the Mainland were facing challenges arising from an ageing population, Mr Cheung paid a visit to Beijing Social Welfare Institution No.1 to see for himself the elderly care services on the Mainland and exchange views with the persons in charge there. Mr Cheung noted that the Institution was a large-scale elderly service complex providing more than 1 100 residential places. It offered residential care, medical, rehabilitation and nursing services to the elderly and was also engaged in teaching and research on gerontology.
In the evening, Mr Cheung met with Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Mr Kong Changsheng, to exchange views on the latest labour market situation in Hong Kong and the Mainland. Mr Cheung pointed out that the labour market in Hong Kong was by and large stable, with the latest unemployment rate staying at 3.4 per cent, and wages and earnings recording continuous improvements. Nevertheless, the HKSAR Government would continue to stay alert to the impact of external factors as well as the slowdown in inbound tourism and local consumption on the labour market. Mr Cheung also said that the HKSAR Government was determined to unleash the potential labour force of various groups in view of the shrinking labour force as a result of ageing population. These included the extension of retirement age to facilitate healthy elderly who had the intention to continue to work. Among the measures, with effect from December 2015, the upper age limit for Category B Security Personnel Permit had been revised from 65 to 70. More than 8 000 applications had been approved so far.
Mr Cheung will call on the China Disabled Persons' Federation, the China Enterprise Confederation and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council tomorrow (July 29) before departing for Hong Kong in the evening.
Ends/Thursday, July 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:45
Issued at HKT 20:45