Macau, China, 08 Jun – Several hundred low-ranking civil servants in Macau protested Saturday against unequal pay rises for senior versus junior government employees.
The Macau Civil Servants Association, headed by legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho, lead the march to government headquarters in the afternoon.
José Pereira Coutinho said it was unfair that salary increases being proposed for civil servants would favour around one thousand senior officials.
Macau’s legislature is reviewing a bill that gives pay rises to government workers of different ranks, with senior employees, such as bureau heads, expected to get a raise of 8 to 12 per cent.
Pereira Coutinho said junior civil servants would get much less or even no pay increases under the bill.
“Differential treatment will hurt morale in the civil service and divide junior civil servants against senior ones” he said.
Nurses are set to receive salary increases of between 3 and 43 per cent, or more than 20 per cent on average.
The legislature will soon consider a bill to increase teachers’ salaries.
Police officers, whose pay rose about 30 per cent in 2007, are also asking for greater benefits.
Macau government employes around 20,000 civil servants.
The government’s revenue from direct taxes on gaming was 12.3 billion patacas ( US$ 1.5 billion) in the first four months of the year, down 11 per cent year on year.
Despite the recent fall, direct gaming-tax revenue has increased in recent years, doubling to 39.56 billion patacas ( US$ 4.9 billion) last year from 19.79 billion (US$ 2.4 billion) in 2006.