Workers seek help as restaurant shuts - again

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 12:00am

Fifty workers are seeking help from the Labour Department to reclaim more than $500,000 - almost two months' salary - after their restaurant shut for the second time in six months.

Ying Bun restaurant on Connaught Road West closed on Monday, despite its boss having promised to pay his workers yesterday. Workers said they had not been paid since May and that their boss had fled with the cash and documents on Monday.

'The boss promised to pay us on June 14, but he suddenly closed the gate on Monday night,' said the restaurant's manager, a Mr Fong.

Sixty-two workers have filed a claim with an insolvency fund and their cases are currently being processed.

Some of the workers were previously employed at the Moon Tong Hung Seafood Restaurant, at the same address, which shut on January 9. They claim the owner ran away with the cash and that the company went into liquidation immediately afterwards.

Ying Bun restaurant opened on the same spot on January 24 and some staff agreed to return. Workers said that both restaurants were operated by the same man.

Poon Man-hon, organising secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, said that workers were trying to recover up to two months' pay.

'Half of the workers I know used to work for Moon Tong Hung, and they haven't received anything from last time,' he said.

The Labour Department said it had received four requests for assistance from the workers, but expected that many would file their cases today.

Mr Poon said the department had promised to help locate the boss and try to arrange a meeting with workers.

Legislator Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, who represents the catering industry, expressed concern about the number of Chinese restaurants that had closed this year.