Kwai Tsing dock workers strike

Dock strikers' supporters call for boycott of Li Ka-shing's ParknShop

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 April, 2013, 6:09pm

A pressure group has called for a boycott of the ParknShop supermarket chain - part of the Li Ka-shing empire - to back the dock workers' strike.

The call came as the group staged a demonstration outside the chain's store near Kwai Fong MTR yesterday in support of the strikers at container terminals operated by Li's Hongkong International Terminals (HIT).

"We're staging the campaign to back the dock workers, and to urge their employers to sit at the negotiation table," group spokesman Napo Wong Weng-chi said.

The campaign received a mixed response from shoppers, with some saying they would join the boycott while others said they did not see the point.

The boycott was staged by a group comprising political parties, the Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre and leftist group Left 21. Members gave out leaflets asking passers-by to shop elsewhere. It also placed boxes outside the store to collect money for the dockers.

Wong said Li's corporations were depriving workers of their rights and making people's lives more difficult. He said ParknShop, which often raised its prices, was a case in point.

Slogans and wanted posters with headshots of Li and HIT managing director Gerry Yim Lui-fai drew dozens of onlookers outside the store.

Air-conditioning technician Aero So said the campaign could make Hongkongers more aware of what was going on at the dock.

"If people don't go to ParknShop, there are still other shopping places available, such as small groceries and wet markets," he said.

Video: No bathrooms and 24-hour shifts – the life of a dock workhorse

Retiree Ho Yat-seng, 77, said his family of more than 10 members would support the boycott until the negotiations were over.

"I was once a blue-collar worker ... and I understand [the dockers'] plight," said Ho, who donated HK$100.

But housewife Ling Wong said boycotting Li's companies was almost impossible and would cause her great inconvenience.

The group will stage the campaign at ParknShop stores across the 18 districts tomorrow. They will also stage a rally between the Cheung Kong Center in Central and the government headquarters in Admiralty on Sunday.

A ParknShop spokeswoman said the chain had no comment on the boycott.