HONG KONG, Dec 12: Hong Kong plans to raise the city’s minimum wage to HK$30 ($3.87) an hour, a minister said on Wednesday, in a hike slammed by labour groups as inadequate for the Asian financial hub.

Labour minister Matthew Cheung said the raise represents a 7.1 per cent increase from the HK$28 pay per hour at present, which was introduced in May last year partly to tackle a widening income gap between the rich and poor.

“(The new rate) will be effective from May 1 next year if it is approved by the legislative council,” Cheung told reporters, adding that around 320,000 workers are expected to benefit from the adjustment. Critics, however, said the raise was too small to cover inflation and the high cost of living in Hong Kong, which is one of the world’s most expensive city to live in with its sky-high property prices.

“We are not satisfied with the government proposal and think the hike is unreasonable,” Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said. The city introduced the controversial pay floor for the first time last year after fierce opposition from employers. —AFP

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