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Lifeguard union informed of progress of LCSD working groups

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (August 21) informed the Hong Kong and Kowloon Life Guard's Union in writing of topics discussed at the first meeting of two working groups.

The two working groups review the lifeguard establishment of public swimming pools and beaches, and the mechanism to set the salary level of next year's temporary contract lifeguards respectively.

The LCSD committed at a special meeting on August 12 that the union would be regularly updated on the progress of the two working groups.

The lifeguard establishment working group held its first meeting on August 13 while the other on the salary level met for the first time on August 18.

There was participation of frontline lifeguards and management staff of swimming venues in the working groups.

A spokesman for the LCSD said: "The department welcomes the union to join the working groups to express views when union members deem appropriate."

The working group on reviewing the lifeguard establishment of public swimming pools and beaches studied and confirmed its terms of reference at its first meeting.

A schedule to visit each and every public swimming venue from mid-August to October was drawn up. It is expected that a report with proposals on next year's lifeguard establishment will be compiled in November to tie in with the operation of the swimming venues in 2005.

The working group will complete swimming pool visits before starting to tour beaches. It may conduct a study visit overseas if necessary.

The working group hopes that, through on-site inspections, it can work out basic principles and make recommendations on lifeguard establishment of each swimming pool and beach.

At the meeting, the working group also studied the background and basis on deriving the lifeguard establishment for 2004.

Besides agreeing on the terms of reference, factors determining salary levels were considered at the first meeting of the working group on salaries of temporary lifeguards in 2005.

The factors considered were:

* Qualifications required;

* Whether the remuneration of beach and swimming pool lifeguards should be different, and

* Responses to the recruitment exercise for temporary lifeguards in 2004.

The working group was of the view that instead of the LCSD conducting a survey on the salary level of the lifeguards, commissioning consultancy study would be more ideal, in respect of professionalism and independence, as well as acceptability and credibility.

To synchronise with the recruitment exercise of contract temporary lifeguards in 2005, the working group discussed the timetable of the review. Work includes meetings of the working group, drawing up consultancy duty list, tendering to select the consultant, conducting the actual survey and compiling the consultancy report. The work completion is expected to be in early November.

The spokesman said: "The department will be pleased to receive views before August 27 from the union on the way forward of the working groups."

He appealed once again to the union to sit on the working groups and join hands with the department to address the issues of concern.

Ends/Saturday, August 21, 2004
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