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Civil servants’ hike approved and criticized

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The draft law on the salary hike for civil servants was approved at yesterday’s meeting of the Legislative Assembly (AL), but lawmaker and president of the Macau Civil Servants’ Association José Pereira Coutinho complained that “the law was announced too late and will enter into force only in May.” This would disadvantage the civil servants from January to April. He urged the government and particularly the secretary for Administration and Justice, Florinda Chan, to explain what he considers to be “a mistake”, which had already been made in 2007.
He and lawmaker Mak Soi Kun further asked why this law had no retroactive effect extending back to January this year.  “Does the government not remember that it retroacted the payment of arrears of all senior management positions from 2009 to July 1st, 2007? And why? - Because the Government had delayed by several years the fulfillment of a political decision by the former Chief Executive in the form of a proposal in the AL. And now, four months of retroactive payments are not possible, even as the Government’s delayed submitting the draft law in the AL?” - asked Pereira Coutinho, alluding also to other cases, namely an instance in which the Members of the Executive Council had benefited from retroactive payments.
Florida Chan explained that the Chief Executive had not set an exact date for the presentation of the law, and it was being proposed after the creation of the ‘Committee of Deliberation on the Remuneration of Public Administration Workers’. Concerning the objected payments she said “retroactive payments do not always take place.” In this case she justified the decision by highlighting the results of the “evaluation of the remuneration of public administration workers and the situation of the financial reserve.”
But Pereira Coutinho was not at all satisfied with this argument: “Now the Government says no funds are available and to pay the 200 million (of arrears) it will have to mess with the financial reserve. But this is not true. What the government does not want is to pay the arrears, especially to the front-line workers who are … most underprivileged.” He said the Government had already disposed of revenues of MOP200 million in January this year and again accused the Administration of lying, as the salary increase was not of 6.45% (as claimed by the Government) but only of 4.61 %, due to the delay.


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