Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah (pictured) in his latest blog on Sunday expressed concern about "soaring" wages for low-skilled jobs such as washing dishes. He said wages need to be monitored because owners of small businesses will suffer from the increasing labour costs.
Tsang said the "soaring" wages were a result of a growing demand for low-skilled labour. "Hiring staff is their greatest difficulty. A restaurant owner said he couldn't find anyone to do a dishwashing job in the city centre even if he offered HK$12,000 a month," said Tsang. He added businesses that cannot pay those wages might collapse, which would lead to higher unemployment and reduced spending power.
Young Post asked Blanche Ngan, the manager of the SCMP building canteen, what she thought. She said it is difficult to hire staff like dishwashers. "It's important to meet the minimum wage requirements. I'm also willing to offer HK$12,000 for a dishwashing job because I consider it as the hardest duty in the restaurant."
Ngan added it's difficult to hire young people as most of them don't want low-skilled jobs.
Ruby Leung, an 18-year-old student at City University, said dishwashing jobs are exhausting but the wages are reasonable. "I'd be willing to do a summer dishwashing job if it paid HK$12,000 a month. Dishwashing is hard but it does not require any skills; all I have to do is to wash dishes."
But Baptist University student Jessie Pang, 19, said she would not be a dishwasher because a salary of HK$12,000 was not enough for such intensive manual work. "I used to be a part-time waitress. But after working for four days, I quit as it was too tiring," she said.