Bank of China

Bank lures staff to handover parade

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2006, 12:00am

In move that has angered pro-democracy groups, Bank of China Hong Kong staff are being offered $100 cash and gifts to take part in a July 1 morning parade being staged to celebrate the anniversary of the handover.

People involved in Saturday's pro-democracy event say the actions are aimed at reducing the impact of their afternoon march.

Unionist Lee Cheuk-yan, an organiser of the march for universal suffrage, said it was 'disgusting' that employers might abuse their powers and make people attend the parade.

'If they are that rich, then the bank should give their staff a pay rise. It shows the carnival in the morning encourages autocracy, while the July 1 march in the afternoon calls for freedom,' Mr Lee said.

A spokeswoman for the Bank of China yesterday said all staff planning to join the parade had done so on a voluntary basis.

She said the division in charge of staff recreational activities had regularly encouraged workers to join meaningful events, such as tree-planting days or a walkathon.

'We think the July 1 parade is a meaningful event that our staff would consider participating in,' the spokeswoman said. 'When our staff joined the tree-planting day in March, they were also provided with lunch.'

A memo issued to bank staff earlier this month also promised that each participant would receive a T-shirt, a cap and drinks.

'We are just giving a subsidy. It's not a case of luring them with money,' the spokeswoman said.

Legislator Chan Yuen-han, of the Federation of Trade Unions, said there was nothing wrong in the bank paying staff for attending the parade.

'I don't think there are any problems. Many organisations do it all the time, and all they want is to encourage more people to turn out,' Ms Chan said.