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Hong Kong – Skills shortages threaten public safety

30 October 2013

Amidst growing skills shortages and concerns over a declining population, approximately 100 technical and surveying officers at the Buildings Department will stop work for one hour on 31 October 2013 in a symbolic protest against manpower shortages, reports the Hong Kong Standard.

Liu Fuk-hing, Vice Chairman of the Survey Officer Working Group of the Association of Government Technical and Survey Officers, said: “To improve management, our demand is for the department to immediately get more staff.”

The protest follows accusations that the department failed to act promptly to remove a dangerously precarious signboard. The swinging sign, measuring six meters by 10 meters, forced the police to close the road for hours.

The Association criticised the department for not increasing its manpower resources despite increases to their workload. According to Mr Liu, there are approximately 50,000 removal orders for illegal structures and building maintenance that have yet to be processed, threatening public safety. 

The shortage of technical and surveying officers has affected the department’s building inspection, and the Association is requesting an addition 500 recruits to tackle the workload. According to President of the Association, Yung Chun-chui, the department shed 200 contract staff in 2011.  

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