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  • Jul 11, 2014
  • Updated: 10:42am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 3:14am

Strikers right to put tycoon in the dock

Striking dockers have beaten academic Benny Tai Yiu-ting to occupy Central. And they have even picked the perfect symbol of the city's so-called property hegemony - the Cheung Kong Center at 2 Queen's Road Central.

There may be other local tycoons, but no one approaches the influence and prestige of Cheung Kong supremo Li Ka-shing, whose business empire covers most walks of life in the city like the "vampire squid" that has been used to describe the global influence of Goldman Sachs.

In this case, the dockers are fighting for their livelihood and working conditions. Canning Fok Kin-ning, the boss of Hutchison Whampoa - the parent company of port operator Hongkong International Terminals - has likened the strike to the Cultural Revolution, apparently because of the use of banners and posters that depict Li, his paymaster, in rather unflattering cartoons, and a loud protest outside Li's home.

"This [strike] has been using the style of the Cultural Revolution," Fok said.

The comparison is ridiculous and demeans this great historical tragedy of the Chinese people. The dockers are not red guards. They are demanding higher wages in the absence of legal protection that would allow for collective bargaining.

Li and Fok are not victims being made to kneel on broken glass, with dunce caps put on them. They are bosses who are upset because they thought they had created enough distance not to be bothered by such nuisances. But it would be hard for Li to escape the dockers' unwanted attention when he is at the apex of a vast empire of which the dockers are at the bottom. However hard it tries to deny it, HIT has enormous clout over subcontractors who are nominally the dockers' employers, just like many major developers who often hide behind a web of subcontractors.

Fok said he did not believe the dockers' working conditions were that bad and they were "willing to work long hours".

How would he know? When was the last time Fok, who made HK$170 million in 2011, stepped inside a cargo crane inside which an operator works 12- to 24-hour shifts? Fok's response betrays the arrogance of power and wealth whenever they are challenged in this city.

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the sun also rises
Instead of give in to the striking dockers outside Cheung Kong Centre,the headquarters of Li's commercial empire,the Li family (father and elder son) and Li's top aide have sought resort to law----asking the court to drive out the striking dockers from their premises ! The strike may have a long way to go under such tense atmosphere ! Just wait and see,how these two richest guys and their close aide will end up !
the sun also rises
Canning Fok claimed that he didn't believe the striking dockers' working conditions (hired by subcontractors) were that bad and they were willing to work long hours--even on 24-hour shifts. He further said that even his beloved son has to work 20 hours a day (with such a wealthy dad ?) How would Canning Fok know as he is used to sit in his huge and luxurious office-suite like a taipan (actually he is a taipan -----though hired by Li family) of Whampoa Hutchison. When was Fok stepped inside a cargo crane inside whcih an operator works 12-24 hour shifts ? Of course he has never been there before ! Fok's arrogant response in Beijing (where he lives/keeps a tradtional Beijing-styled house) betrays the arrogance of power and wealth whenever they are challenged in this city which we all call our home ! Fully agree with what Alex Lo said !
sclibrary
they should just fire the trouble makers... 17% pay rise is unreasonable and also unfair for the dock workers who do not strike. It is a dangerous precedent if HIT were to accept the demands of the dock workers. Wage should be dictated by supply and demand... this is simple economics... what if everyone demanded a pay rise?
Its kind of ungrateful that HIT provides them with jobs and they start complaining about it: take it or leave it... if you dont like the conditions you can get out.
the sun also rises
who is demonising Li Ka-shing,the richest guy in Asia and the richest old man in the world of Chinese on earth ? The dock strikers ? lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan ? Or the Apple Daily and the Next Magazine which used to attack Li family for its acts in local commerce ? I wonder. Li family:the father and the elder son's reputation have both been tarnished in this strike ! But whose faults ? Their own !
jkhleung
"How would he know?" By definition, jobs get done by delegation. So, does it mean that no one higher than the lowly dockers is entitled to present management's view of the dispute? You can disagree with Canning Fok's views, but you can't deny his right to defend Hutchison and his boss. By demonising Li Ka Shing, the strikers have personalised a simple labour dispute which should rightly be resolved by Hutchison management rather than Li Ka Shing. He's delegated the task to his underlings.
the sun also rises
Agree with Alex Lo that the HIT has overwhelming influence over the subcontractors who hire these dockers on strike.If HIT led by Yam Yui-fei who is under Canning Fok,the top aide of Li Ka-shing can be more generous to offer higher pay and better conditions towards the workers,the strike can come to an end.Yet the HIT chose to waste/spend millions of dollars on local newspapers(including those free ones) by advertising their stance while attacking lawmaker,Lee Cheuk-yan and the Conferation of Trade Unions.Though the loss of Li's commercial empire may have reached HK$100 millions or more,the Li family and Canning Fok have chosen not to give in to the demands of the striking dockers who are supported and sympathized by most Hongkongers in town and elsewhere in the world ! The damage to the Superman in this strike is said to be huge and disastrous though his foundation has donated HK$ 60 millions to the relief efforts of Sichuan earthquake recently !
aplucky1
where are all these great hong kong women with big mouths on this issue?
christine loh and her ilk
they are weak and pitiful
100 year old elsie tu stood up, the rest are silent paper tigers
wwong888
canning fok is a corrupt wh-re would would s-ck li-ka-shings c-ck if it meant a pay rise. no one cares what he thinks.
John Adams
I agree 100% with you Alex.
don67
Well said, couldn't agree more.
Byebye
100% agreement with your points, Mr Alex Lo. How some developers made their wealth is something to research into? The Kings of Monopoly? I do not believe in communism but at this instance of time I wish someone with the spirit of young Chairman Mao is here to lead a "Financial Revolution"!!!!!!! On a lighter thought (less angry now), perhaps make a video to show Mr Fok or people like us the working environment and condition of the dockers in HIT? Try to get Mr Fok to work 24 hours, perhaps not in HIT, just in one of the supermarkets owned by his group, stacking shelves perhaps?
rpasea
"How would he know?"
D@mn right. Same applies to the entire ministerial system and senior civil servant who are more equal than others.
 
 
 
 
 

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