• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:09am

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
LABOUR

Striking dockers will talk to contractors if port operator attends

Workers say they will negotiate with contractors over their demand for better pay and conditions, but only if port operator HIT also attends

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 10:12am

Striking dock workers say they are prepared to sit down and talk with employers, but only if the city's biggest port operator as well as the three major contractors take part.

Their bottom line for negotiations to start, they said last night, was to meet representatives from Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) along with contractors Everbest Port Services, Global Stevedoring Services and Pui Kee Stevedore Company.

The strikers spoke after a meeting yesterday, the 10th day of the strike, which was attended by more than 400 dockers.

Last night, a spokeswoman for HIT - owned by billionaire Li Ka-shing - said the firm had no comment on the demand for it to send representatives to talks.

HIT, which operates five of the nine container terminals at Kwai Tsing, has previously insisted it has nothing to do with the employment of contract workers.

The strike, which involves about 500 dockers, had affected cargo imports and increased pressure on dock operations, Willy Lin Sun-mo, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council, which represents importers and exporters, said. The effects were still minimal, but ships might switch to ports in Guangdong or even to Singapore if the strike continued, Lin warned.

Stanley Ho Wai-hong, from the Union of Hong Kong Dockers, said: "We've heard that workers still working are shouldering additional hours and shifts, so the resentment has been building."

The industrial action began on March 28 to demand better work conditions and a 17 per cent pay rise - dockers say their wages have risen only once in 15 years.

Acting chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor urged the strikers and their employers - as well as the port operator - to "all show concerted effort" in handling the dispute peacefully. She said the Labour Department would try its best as mediator.

Dockers hope the government can arrange a meeting soon. Talks are expected to be long. At noon yesterday, some of the strikers re-entered Terminal Six after the High Court relaxed HIT's injunction that had kept them out since Monday.

The strikers each received HK$1,500 from a fund set up to support the walkout, up from the HK$1,000 they got previously.

Ho said strikers, their families and supporters, would meet at Victoria Park at 3pm today and march to the Cheung Kong Center in Central, then to the government headquarters in Admiralty.

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rugby7hongkong@gmail.com
Yes, I agree. The dockers are being denied a living wage. I support the dockers and their protest 100%. Speaking as an employer I deplore these kinds of employment practices. The method of collective contracts is used to systematically reduce the wages of lower earning workers in the 'blue collar' sector of the economy. There needs to be better employment protection of employees in Hong Kong. Responsible employers will always be concerned for the welfare of their colleagues and treat them well. The treatment of the dockers (and I dare say many other sectors) is a bad scar on the face of the Hong Kong.
hard times !
the dockers on strike are supported by most Hongkongers with conscience.Please keep on your efforts and never give in ! We pity your plights and misery and disgusted at the indifferent attitudes shown by the over-greedy,but the richest family in town---the Chiuchowese Li !
maecheung
If what is shown in the video about a dockers workday is true, it's despicable of the employer to ask employee to work in this kind of conditions. It just shows that Hong Kong was governed by the rich whether it is under Britain or Bejing. I hope the government can do something to allow the workers to earn a decent working wage and condition. Do something CY! Where are the pan-democrats now other than Lee Cheuk Yan? Guess nobody dares to stand up to the rich and powerful!
rugby7hongkong@gmail.com
After I posted that I saw that short film, which is excellent by the way. If what he states is correct that;
a) They have to work 24 or 48 hours straight - what kind of health and safety rules are at work here?
b) Why don't they have a legal right to meal breaks and toilet facilities - this is just not human, nor healthy.
c) They have to work during Typhoons? Again what kind of health and safety is at play here?
Disgusting that they are asked to work in these conditions which sounds more like Victorian Britain than Hong Kong in 2013.
 
 
 
 
 

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