Independent unions in bid to avert liberal vote split
By CATHERINE NG
INDEPENDENT trade unionists are discussing co-operation in the upcoming functional constituency elections to avert a split in the liberal vote.
The independent Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) and its subsidiary Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions met for the first time last night to discuss co-operation.
The CTU, which is headed by former legislator Lau Chin-shek and enjoys close ties with the Democratic Party, intended to join the Democrats in putting up candidates for all nine functional constituency seats created by Governor Chris Patten's political reforms.
The federation's plan to take part in the elections is seen as a threat to the CTU and the Democrats.
Federation chairman Lee Kai-ming is eyeing the two labour sector seats and the federation also intends to nominate contenders for three to four other seats.
Mr Lau said last night that he wanted the CTU to mediate between the party and the federation.
'I hope co-operation can be . . . mutually beneficial to the federation and the CTU, and to the CTU and the Democrats,' he said. Mr Lau did not rule out amending the Democrats' and CTU's original idea of nominating a total of nine candidates.
'The primary principle is to avoid a clash among us,' he said.
Mr Lee admitted negotiations would be very tough.
Following the usual practice, the left-wing and right-wing unions will also field members to run in the functional constituency elections for the two labour seats.
The left-wing 210,000-strong Federation of Trade Unions is also considering running for all nine new seats in the poll.