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  • Nov 29, 2014
  • Updated: 11:26am

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

Beleaguered dock contractor to close down

Global Stevedoring Service decides to throw in the towel as strike makes it unable to carry on

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 April, 2013, 3:44am

A dock contractor at the centre of a weeks-old pay dispute dropped a bombshell on striking dockers yesterday, announcing it would put up the shutters after June 30.

Global Stevedoring Service said it could not keep up its business any more with about three-quarters of its 170 dockers on strike for 22 days - and counting.

Another main contractor that had also been mired in the row said it did not intend to follow suit as its operation had been recovering from the mass walkout at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals that started on March 28.

Global's contract with strike-hit port operator Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) would end on June 30, it said.

"We have made it clear that we cannot grant the 20 per cent pay raise that the union has been asking for," the company said. "Since the proposal we have presented is not accepted, it won't do anyone or society any good to continue like this."

Last week, Global offered only 8.5 per cent, with part of it to be given in the form of benefits.

"Nearly 75 per cent of Global's staff have joined the strike organised by Lee Cheuk-yan and his Confederation of Trade Unions," it said. "Coupled with other attendant negative effects, Global thinks it does not have the ability to restructure its team and continue with its operation." Global would dismiss its dockers according to labour laws, it said.

One of Global's bosses, Lau Kwok-on, said on radio last night that the company would not take part in any more meetings with the strikers. He said the dispute has hurt the image of all the bosses, who have been facing a lot of pressure. He also said that the dispute had become politicised.

Unionist lawmaker Lee, when asked if he felt he had contributed to the folding of the company, said: "We have never asked Global to pay up. From day one, we have been demanding HIT pay up. We actually feel sympathetic to [the contractors] for being caught in the middle."

He said Global would still need to attend negotiations on the dispute with contractor Everbest Port Services and HIT, because it had another two months to go before closure.

Everbest representative Dick Wong said he was not surprised by the announcement because Global's bossess are already old.

The company had hired 10 new dockers after the strike began and would be recruiting more. About 300 of its 450 dockers are on strike.

HIT, meanwhile, called on the strikers to "try to understand the challenges the industry is facing". The firm is a subsidiary of Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa. Li later told reporters outside his home that he had no comment.

Global's strikers said they had no regrets even though they were losing their jobs. "Even if it is closing down, we will go on with the strike," Chris Cheng Ka-wai said.



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hard times !
Li Ka-shing said that he had no comment on the strike of the dockers who had staged a strike against his HIT belonged to Hutchison Whampoa (of which the general managing director,right-handed man of his,Fok Kin-ling earend HK$ 180 millions last year---the No.1 salaryman in Hong Kong) owned by Cheung Kong---Li's empire.His indifferent attitude towards those so-called outsourcing workers only reflects the cruel and greedy nature of these corporations which used to outsource their posts to contractors or even subcontractors so as to gain the highest profits (exempting from many fringe benefits and even insurance charges and paid leave).This Li family can be described as cold-blood over-greedy capitalists in town ! Shame on them !
I would doubt if HIT would pass on fat margins to these contractors, they are just middle man contracted by HIT to do the dirty job at low cost and mitigate legal risk etc. As these dockers are basically serving HIT as ultimate client, HIT needs to come out to negotiate or support the increase otherwise there won't be compromise. It is amazing HIT Australia is paying at lease A$80k a year to similar type of workers, now you probably know hard Hk people work for less salary but much more expensive housing and food. As I said, unless you are lawyer, bankers, developers and civil servants in Hk, you all work for these group of people as a slave.
M Wong
Come on ! HIT, GSS or CKwong are under the same umbrella of The L** Empire. Subcontracting is primarily used by big companies to bypass their legal obligation to the employees. Hence, to minimise their costs. This is all to do with money and one of the main key factors of capitalism. However, what these big companies do not have is that they have no moral obligation to the society. Social responsibility is what does not exist in Hong Kong. These so-called directors or managers are born and bred in Hong Kong and they have little concern of the issue of morality. Look at these poor workers, they work for extensive long hours without breaks. Dignity is out of the window and they earn literally no money at all. The most effective way to curb this kind of unfairness is that the government should come out and take an active role to fight against the big boys. Unfortunately, the Hong Kong government so far is weak, the officials are merely incompetent. You would need a strong figure like Margaret Thatcher to run Hong Kong. And to be bold enough to say 'NO' to these filthy rich families who are monopolising Hong Kong. Until then, this once glorious city is numbered and more and more social problems will appear .......
Seriously you think being the richest person in HK would be ashamed of his (their) business ethics when it comes to profit ? It takes a lot of guts to be willing to sell one's soul to the devil and the man on top would only laugh at us sandwich and grassroot class citizens served as his stepping stones to glory. Once a tyrant always a tyrant and it's in his nature to do what he does best.
Apart from the Govt Associates (tycoons, civil servants, welfare dependants, licensed monopolies), all other non-associate ordinary people are most likely to be exploited.
HK is a rich financial centre for the rich and the vested interest. The majority poor have to suffer with long working hours (or two jobs) and live in poverty. Vote with your feet and leave HK for china where there is more opportunities.
the HK Govt does exactly the same thing - it issues contracts to cleaning companies - check out any park in Hong Kong and you will see 'Johnson' or some other like shirt on the workers - the same with security guards. Govt accepts usually the lowest tender and encourages thereby the low salaries of security guards and cleaners so it does not need to comploy these workers direct, with associated Government benefits.


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