Dockers take their protest to Li Ka-shing's offices
Striking dock workers on Friday staged a sit-in protest outside the offices of billionaire Li Ka-shing, the owner of the main operator of the Kwai Chung cargo terminal where they work.
About 60 workers unrolled banners and shouted slogans outside the Cheung Kong Centre in Central, where the billionaire property tycoon works, calling for Li to understand their need for a pay rise.
The Kwai Chung cargo terminal is operated by Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), a subsidiary of Li’s Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate. The dockers are striking against the contractors HIT uses to hire them to load and unload containers from vessels.
The dockers have been on strike outside the port for more than two weeks seeking a 17 per cent pay rise. They say their pay has been raised only once over the last 15 years.
Video: No bathrooms and 24-hour shifts – the life of a dock workhorse
Their talks with two contractors hiring them broke down on Thursday evening, with the contractors only prepared to offer a 7 per cent rise. No talks between the striking workers and the contractors are scheduled for Friday.
Also on Friday, two unions – the Federation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions – representing two groups of dockers who are not striking, but working to rule, met the contractors to discuss a pay rise in the morning.
After the meeting, union representatives said the contractors stuck to the same 7 per cent pay rise offer they made on Thursday to the striking dockers, which is well off the 12 per cent they are seeking.