Dockers vow to continue strike despite new job offers
Dock workers hired by one closing contractor vowed on Friday to continue their strike despite being offered better-paying jobs by other contractors.
Ah Hong, a crane driver with contractor Global Stevedoring Service, said other contractors in Kwai Tsing container terminals had offered him and his colleagues a pay rise if they join them and return to work.
The rate was not specified, he said, and the job offers were made after Global announced on Thursday it planned to close down in June due to the strike.
“Other contractors kept ringing us,” Ah Hong told local radio on Friday. “They asked about our interest in joining them and said we would get a higher pay than we do now.”
But Ah Hong said the strikers would reject the job offers unless port operator Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) improved their working conditions.
“We won’t go back [to the port] because we are fighting for reasonable wages, reasonable welfare, and reasonable safety conditions,” he said. “There is no point in going back if these are not improved.”
Unionist Lee Cheuk-yan, who helps the workers, said it all depended on HIT and its parent company Hutchison Whampao to improve the working conditions.
Global said on Thursday it found it difficult to continue its business as 130 of its 170 workers had joined the strike, which began on March 28. It said it could not afford the 20 per cent pay rise demanded by the workers.
About 100 workers are camped outside Cheung Kong Center, where Hutchison Whampao chairman Li Ka-shing has an office, to demand the property tycoon to intervene in the dispute.
Stanley Ho Wai-hang, a strike organiser from the Confederation of Trade Unions, said he would invite the contractors intending to hire Global workers to attend future meetings with workers.