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Transcript of remarks by SCS
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Clement Cheung, at a media session after attending a fundraising cycling event today (April 9):
Reporter: (About the upgrade of the Fire Services Department)
Secretary for the Civil Service: We are very aware of the aspirations made by the staff of the Fire Services Department (FSD) and we are in good contact with both the management and the staff unions with regard to these aspirations. Our attitude is to make sure that we progress in a pragmatic and progressive manner. We have three different initiatives basically. The first one, which I think is the most immediate and most urgent one, is to review in the light of some recent tragic incidents, the extent of support in terms of manpower and equipment that the FSD needs and it is for this reason that we have provided over 330 posts in the Budget for the department in the coming financial year. This will, I think, have a direct benefit in terms of relieving the pressure, enhancing the safety of frontline operational staff as well as elevating the extent of safeguard for public interests.

     The second initiative that we are looking at is to review whether certain operational circumstances could justify the payment of subsidies for some of the FSD staff. It is not really a question of additional pay. The basic underlying reason for this is to ensure that more officers are willing to join this kind of very challenging and sometimes not very attractive work.

     Finally and it is the one that a lot of people ask about is whether we are going to accord a special status to the FSD staff and in fact for that particular demand, the essence is to have a separate pay scale for the FSD. Now this is something that we have to deliberate in a bit more detailed because first of all it involves additional resources and the resources could be substantial. Therefore we would need to have full justifications. We have to go through due process, which means probably we have to go through the Executive Council, the Legislative Council and the Finance Committee. We also have to bear in mind that any changes to a particular disciplinary service pay scale will have interaction and interrelation with the pay scale of other disciplinary services staff and this is something which we also have to bear in mind and we have to deliberate within that process.
Reporter: Is there any time table for the plan?
Secretary for the Civil Service: The first initiative, as I have already explained, is done. I think this is important because this is what I believe to be the most urgent and the most immediate need. The second initiative is in the process of deliberation. We are getting information about what kind of operation and which grades of staff are involved. The final one I think we are at a pretty preliminary stage. I think for that particular part, given the extent of its implications, we will have to take a slightly longer time.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Sunday, April 9, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:21
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