Union plans for pay row protest

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 November, 2010, 12:00am

A union is trying to drum up support for a plan to boycott fast food giant Cafe de Coral as a protest against a new wage structure that it says denies money to staff by using legal loopholes.

On Tuesday next week, protesters will display banners and pass out leaflets and stickers to passers-by in front of Cafe de Coral outlets in various districts, including Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, urging them not to patronise the city's largest fast-food chain.

Suzanne Wu Sui-shan organising secretary for the Catering and Hotels Industries Employees' General Union, said they would also stage a protest at the chain's headquarters in Fo Tan on Friday, when they would hand in a boycott statement.

The company said last month it would offer its staff a rise of HK$2 to HK$3.50 on their hourly rates of HK$22 to HK$25, on condition that they forfeit their right to a daily paid meal break of up to 45 minutes.

It said this was common practice in the industry and no staff would have their pay cut.

But the union, a member of the Confederation of Trade Unions, says it has found workers whose wages would be reduced.

The statement says the chain has operated in the city for 40 years and, supported by working-class residents, has developed into a listed company but has now forgotten its roots.

It says Cafe de Coral should immediately shelve cancellation of the paid lunch break and raise hourly wages to not less than HK$33 to give employees a reasonable living.

The boycott will also include outlets of Asia Pacific Catering, a subsidiary of Cafe de Coral, on various university campuses.

The union is also trying to meet the Hospital Authority, to which the chain supplies food, to suggest contract terms that better defend the interests of employees.

Details of the campaign will be given tomorrow.




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