Lift strike stuck on day 3 as talks stall

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2011, 12:00am


Lift maintenance workers will continue their strike for a third day today after negotiations over a pay rise and staff shortages broke down.

'We failed to find common ground with the company,' workers' representative Mok Yun-chuen said yesterday. 'But we feel that the company has changed their attitude and that they are more sincere now.'

About 70 repair workers at ThyssenKrupp Elevator - about 80 per cent of the frontline employees - stopped work on Monday in protest at their existing pay package. They are paid a base salary of HK$7,000 a month, but say rivals pay HK$8,500. They also say they are forced to work overtime regularly because of staff shortages. The company checks and repairs about 600 buildings, representing some 5 per cent of the city's lift maintenance work.

According to the Fire Services Department, there were 11 incidents involving people trapped in lifts across the city yesterday. One involved ThyssenKrupp, but firefighters were able to open the doors unaided.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said it was closely monitoring the situation and was ready to offer assistance to buildings affected by the industrial action.

Meanwhile, Labour and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung called on employers and employees to foster a culture of mutual understanding in the workplace.

Speaking at a seminar on 'Employer-employee Communication and Dialogue', Cheung said mutual trust and understanding could bring about a harmonious relationship between the worker and employer.

According to the Labour Department, the number of industrial disputes involving more than 20 people dropped from 143 cases in 2009 to 68 cases last year, and the number involving less than 20 people dropped from 24,303 cases to 20,434 cases.