SCMP Thursday, October 12, 2000


Staff to be consulted before any further changes


Mr Tung attempted to boost civil service morale by promising to consult workers before launching any more reforms.
A performance-based reward system is to be initiated by departments with the consent of staff. It would be based on team effort and would not be incorporated into pay packages, he said.
Civil service morale has been badly dented over the past two years by privatisation and corporatisation plans.
The section in Mr Tung's speech devoted to civil service reform was headed "Cautiously on Course". The Chief Executive said that "to keep abreast of social advances, our civil service needs continuous improvements". He said a package of reforms had been launched aimed at enhancing productivity.
While such reforms could yield savings of $5.8 billion up to the 2002-03 financial year, Mr Tung said not one serving officer had been forced into redundancy or to take pay cuts.
The remaining measures to be introduced include a performance-based reward system and a provident fund scheme for new recruits.
"While we have not planned any major reform of the civil service other than those already announced, we must, of course, remain responsive to the developing needs of our society," Mr Tung said.
"But before any new measure is introduced, we will hold extensive consultations and communicate with the staff side."
Mr Tung said the Government would provide $50 million to enhance its training programmes.
"Indeed, I would urge all employers to encourage their staff to continue their learning and to allow them time for it," he said.
Civil service groups were told by Secretary for Civil Service Joseph Wong Wing-ping yesterday, after the Policy Address, that the performance-linked reward system was aimed at improving efficiency. The form of the rewards had not been decided.
Cecilia So Chui-kuen, president of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association, welcomed the pledge to consult unions. "He has listened to our views," she said.