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HSBC to freeze pay of 13,000 H.K. staff members.

HONG KONG, Dec. 3 Kyodo

Hongkong Bank, the Hong Kong flagship unit of HSBC Holdings PLC, will freeze pay for its 13,000 staff members for a year from next January, a bank spokeswoman said Thursday. The step will save the bank 200 million H.K. dollars (about 26 million U.S. dollars), Virginia Lo said. The bank delivered the notice Tuesday, immediately after it was decided by the board of directors. The pay freeze will affect almost all staff, including administrative and non-administrative workers, but excepting those being promoted to a higher rank. The year-end bonus will be delivered as usual next Tuesday. Lo attributed the decision to the worsening business environment after Hong Kong was hit by the Asian economic turmoil. ''The bank has to control costs despite good days. Now, in order to maintain our competitiveness, we will not only consider the staff pay freeze, but also (cutting) other daily costs in publicity and marketing,'' she said. The profits of the Hongkong Bank group in the first half of this year dropped 41% from a year before to 6.09 billion H.K. dollars (about 783 million U.S. dollars). Most of the staff reacted calmly to the bank's decision. Pay rises were 7% to 7.5% in 1997 and 5.5% to 6.5 % in 1998.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9HONG
Date:Dec 7, 1998
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