• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:05pm

Kwai Tsing dock workers strike

On March 28, 2013, dock workers at Kwai Tsing took industrial action seeking a 17 per cent pay rise. The port is operated by Hongkong International Terminals (HIT).

NewsHong Kong

Talks on Kwai Tsing dock strike yet to begin

Workers say meeting is meaningless unless contractors allow them to attend as union members

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 April, 2013, 6:08pm

Long-awaited talks between striking dockers and contractors failed to get off the ground yesterday.

Meanwhile, more than 200 dockers directly hired by the port operator at the centre of the controversy, Hongkong International Terminals, began a work-to-rule - adding to the chaos at Kwai Tsing port, where about 500 contracted staff have been on strike for more than a week.

HIT, which insists none of its employees is taking any kind of industrial action, will today ask a High Court judge to extend Monday's interim injunction ordering striking workers off the docks.

The Labour Department said it had arranged a meeting yesterday between contractors and the strikers.

The department's labour relations chief, Melody Luk Wai-ling, said representatives of two of the four contractors involved arrived at noon, the scheduled time, but left before 10 workers and unionists arrived at 2.30pm. "One contractor returned later… but the other said he could not make it," she added.

Strikers said the contractor whose representatives came back was Everbest Port Services, while those of Global Stevedoring Service Company stayed away.

Union of Hong Kong Dockers spokesman Stanley Ho Wai-hong said the union did not get the time wrong for the meeting. Rather, the contractors had refused to meet the workers in their capacity as union members, and also refused to allow their union representatives to be present.

The union was standing firm on its demand that it represent the workers.

Luk said it had now been agreed the workers would be represented by their unions in the talks, but refused to say if this applied to all four contractors. The unions, however, said they had yet to be informed of any such agreement.

The Union of Hong Kong Dockers has stipulated that representatives of Pui Kee Stevedore Company and Lem Wing Transportation, who did not show up yesterday, attend today's meeting.

Ho raised concerns that the contractors were trying to hold talks with their employees separately to split the strikers.

Yesterday was the eighth day of the strike. The 500 strikers have vowed not to back down until they get a 17 per cent pay rise.

Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions vice-chairwoman Ng Wai-yee said the work-to-rule launched yesterday involved up to 300 crane operators directly employed by HIT.

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

They are demanding a 12 per cent pay rise and overtime pay of 1.5 times current wages.

Despite HIT's denial its workers were taking industrial action, Ng said crane operators were now obeying a rule that they descend to the ground for toilet breaks. Usually they relieve themselves aloft, saving a half-hour trip. Wong Kwai-ting, president of the HIT Groups Employees General Union, said workers would also ensure that even minor problems were checked by technicians, another time-consuming process.



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
where is the Federation of Trade Unions led by Exco.member, Cheng Yiu-tong and Ms Chan Yuen-han , a Legco member in this strike ? I wonder.Does this trade union care about the workers and their plights ? I doubt.
HK Observer
The Labour Department said it had arranged a meeting yesterday at 12:00pm between contractors and the strikers.However, the strikers arrived at 2:30pm. C'mon, They ask for a raise of protests has evolved into a political purpose. Poor workers has been dominated political unions use for political leverage. Workers, please go back to your work!
hard times !
if a so-caled trade union does not intervene during a strike to help its members (though some of its members might be among the management level of the employers) to fight for their reasonable rights and demands,such a trade union better change its name to a club or association only since it no longer represents the rights of the workers ! Shame on those leaders of the Federation of Trade Unions---Cheng Yiu-tong,Ms Chan Yuen-han,Wong Kwok-kin, Poon Pui-kau and ...How disgraced/disgraceful they look in this strike !
The conditions at this terminal are an international disgrace. There is no regard for basic health and safety issues like toilets, meal breaks, reasonable shift lengths and severe and intimidating surveillance. Workers should expect pay rises not pay cuts from highly profitable companies. These are standards dock workers all over the world enjoy and should expect, including dock workers in Hong Kong. Dock workers of the world will rally and so they should.
It says in the story they didn't arrive at 12 because the companies were refusing to meet ith their union representatives. How can you watch the video and say it is political?
So the business goes to our competitors across the border in Shenzhen??
Competitor #1 = Yantian?
That's because its become politised.


SCMP.com Account