Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said he was concerned about the figures being outdated, but said: "I believe the commission will consider many factors when setting the rate so that it will be a reasonable and fair one. We have to ensure that the minimum wage can't be too low."
Many jobs would be lost if the rate was not reasonable, he said. Key business groups said it was impossible to suggest a minimum wage based on the data available, saying more studies were needed.
Stanley Lau Chin-ho, deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, said the provisional commission should consider factors such as the economic environment and the impact on enterprises when setting the minimum wage. And Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades' president Simon Wong Ka-wo said the industry had not yetreached a consensus. But he said most frontline staff in the industry earned between HK$20 and HK$25 per hour. He was worried that less competent people would lose their jobs if the minimum wage was set at HK$33 an hour.
Sociology thesis reference: A survey for minimum wage analysis
17pc of workers earn less than HK$33 an hour
Survey to be factor in setting minimum wage
Nearly one in six workers in the city earns less than HK$33 an hour, the Census and Statistics Department revealed in a detailed survey that will be a major reference in determining the statutory minimum wage.
Despite the release of the wage and employment data, officials are still a long way from deciding what the city's first statutory minimum wage will be and determining its impact on the labour market. The department found that 469,400, or 16.9 per cent, of the city's 2.78 million workers, were paid less than HK$33 an hour, the rate unionists are fighting for. The number of employees excludes maids, civil servants and the self-employed. Some 130,200 get less than the HK$24 that many business groups are demanding. The median hourly wage of city workers is HK$58.50 and the median working hours a month is 192. Among all industries, the lowest median hourly wage is seen in estate management, security and cleaning services at HK$27.60. Restaurant workers earned HK$32.70 and