China ministry denies civil servant wages raised significantly

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China on Friday said it had not significantly raised civil servants' wages, denying state media reports and a government document that the wages were raised in October.

The document, dated Jan. 12 and seen by Reuters, showed wages were raised at least 31 per cent.

Asked about the reports at a press conference, Li Zhong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said: "The information is not the truth".

He added there was still a process ahead to determine the nature of any future wage hikes.

Beijing is working to combat corruption and lift the spending power of millions as the country seeks to boost consumption. Low pay for civil servants is one of the main drivers of corruption as workers seek supplementary income, critics say.

Mr Li said local governments still must sort out how to implement any future salary hikes, and other problems, like weeding out compensation for people who don't actually work at government agencies but are listed as staff, should take priority.

Hu Xiaoyi, vice minister at the ministry, told reporters on Monday that the cabinet had agreed to "adjust" the basic wages of civil servants.

As part of the revision, subsidies and performance bonuses for government workers would be frozen, the document said.

The monthly salary of ordinary government workers is as low as 510 yuan ($82), while the standard monthly salary of China's most senior leaders, including President Xi Jinping, starts from 5,250 yuan (S$1,135), the document showed.

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