Driving instructors on hunger strike

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 4:09am

Two sacked instructors of the Hong Kong School of Motoring went on a hunger strike yesterday over what they say is their "unfair" dismissal. A colleague has joined them in the protest.

"We cannot take this any more and we are very angry," they chanted in front of a banner that said they were forced to take the action. "We are going on a strike because we had no way out," they said.

Ho Tak-ming, 50, and Kevin Ma Wai-hung, 51, were dismissed earlier this month without any reasons given.

They suspect they were let go because they had been organising a union to change the company's rules which allow the staff to teach only at designated schools and are not allowed to give private lessons.

Ho and Ma, with 23 and 16 years of experience respectively, said the company recently hired new instructors who were paid 30 per cent less than the experienced people.

"We demand that the company stop cracking down on the setting up of the union," Ma said. He also wants the company to give him and Ho their jobs back.

Steven Lin Kwok, 59, who joined them in the strike, said he was not worried about his health.

"I will continue with the strike as long as I can," he said.

The company's marketing and communications chief, Alan Soong Wai-leung said the school was willing to talk to the strikers. It had tried to get in touch with them in the past week but they refused to talk, he said.

He also said the company was not cracking down on them for trying to set up the union.