Drivers to keep up strike for surcharge

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2008, 12:00am

About 40 per cent of dumper truck drivers will continue their strike today, with some still negotiating with contractors over the paying of a fuel surcharge.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Dumper Truck Drivers' Association, Lee Chi-fai, said the group would help drivers fight for the fuel surcharge from their contractors case by case.

'We are quite pleased that positive news keeps coming after two days of striking in Tseung Kwan O,' he said.

'About 60 per cent of striking dumper truck drivers will resume work today, as managers of some construction sites have agreed to pay them extra to cover the increasing diesel cost.'

About 60 dumper truck drivers gathered outside the Murray Building in Central as association representatives met officials from the Development Bureau, while about 40 trucks were lined up in Wan Po Road, Tseung Kwan O, on the second day of the strike.

The association, which has about 1,600 members, is demanding that contractors pay HK$30 for journeys of less than 30km and HK$50 for journeys of more than 30km, with the rates adjusted every three months.

At yesterday's meeting, Mr Lee said the administration told them that for government projects lasting for more than 21 months there was a mechanism to adjust the budget according to price fluctuation in construction materials and fuel.

'But we ... have never received such a payment. We really want to know what has happened to the money paid by the government to main contractors,' he said.

'It is like victims of natural disasters being unable to get any food or blankets from charity groups.'

The Development Bureau said it had listened to drivers' views and would meet the Hong Kong Construction Association.

But Construction Association secretary general Thomas Tse Che-wah said the budget adjustment mechanism was one of the terms agreed in contracts between main contractors and the government.

'It has nothing to do with the dumper truck drivers. The drivers should negotiate with the subcontractors directly on the service charges under the market mechanism should they wish to seek compensation when the operational costs ... increase,' he said.

The contract signed between the government and the main contractors was unrelated to the deal between subcontractors and drivers, he said.

'The two different contracts should not be mixed up. Besides, the budget adjustment is made according to price fluctuation, and the adjustment can be negative,' he said.