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  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:20am

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

Shippers to divert cargo to Guangdong to beat dock strike

Shippers agree plan to move freight through province as city's dock dispute continues, with customs officials pledging to speed up clearance

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 April, 2013, 5:07am

Shippers have worked out a back-up plan to move Hong Kong cargo through ports in Guangdong with no end in sight to the Kwai Tsing dock strike.

The Hong Kong Shippers' Council also said Guangdong customs had agreed to speed up clearance of diverted shipments.

The move follows the visit by a joint delegation from the council and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries to the province earlier this week. Council chairman Willy Lin Sun-mo, whose group represents exporters, importers, traders and manufacturers, said: "Delayed shipments can result in huge business losses. That is why making sure the goods can be delivered in time is always our prime concern."

He said the flow of trade in next month's peak season could have been affected if a back-up plan had not been worked out.

Commenting on the strike, Lin said: "The workers can demand whatsoever they like. But [shippers] are not living in an ivory tower. We have obligations to our customers."

The workers can demand whatsoever they like. But [shippers] are not living in an ivory tower. We have obligations to our customers

The pay dispute degenerated into a strike on March 28 and the number of strikers has grown from about 100 to more than 400.

Last night, hundreds of dockers and their supporters staged a rally outside the Cheung Kong Center in Central. Strikers have been camping there after talks earlier this week failed to break the deadlock.

Strike organiser Stanley Ho Wai-hong, of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers, said about 2,000 attended the rally.

Police, however, said 600 people attended the rally at the peak of the event.

The rally was attended by pan-democrat legislators Emily Lau Wai-hing, "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen.

The Cheung Kong Center is owned by tycoon Li Ka-shing. The port operator, Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), is a unit of Li's Hutchison Port Holdings Trust. The strikers want him to force the subcontractors to give them a rise.

One contractor, Global Stevedoring Service, announced on Thursday it would close after its contract with HIT ends at the end of June.

Some of the Global workers yesterday claimed some other contractors had tried to poach them, but they vowed they would not back down until all their demands were satisfied.

A Global workers' representative, Chan Ka-kui, said: "Although our company announced it would close, it still has a responsibility to talk to us about salaries, benefits and occupational health issues. It is not closing today."

Chan said his fellow workers would not join other contractors for only a pay rise. They wanted all their demands, including benefits and occupational health conditions, to be met.

Dick Wong, of contractor Everbest Port Services, said the company could not afford the increase of at least 20 per cent sought by the strikers. "I doubt many companies in Hong Kong nowadays can afford to give a 20 per cent pay rise to staff," he said.

Meanwhile, the HIT Group Employees General Union, which represents about 300 dock workers directly hired by HIT, said last night it would call off its work-to-rule after the company agreed to improve overtime pay and the compensation day off system.

The union did not take part in the strike.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

andao
"The Hong Kong Shippers' Council also said Guangdong customs had agreed to speed up clearance of diverted shipments." So the Communists are helping to break the picket line. How lovely. Marx is rolling in his grave.
hard times !
I wonder where the so-called Lee Cheuk-yan company is ! Lee is a lawmaker and the generall secretary of the Conferation of Trade Unions only.He has fought a brilliant battle for the embattled dockers who have been on strike for over three weeks which has cost the HIT really a lot.Yet the HIT owned by Li Ka-shing and his elder son,Victor Lee (a long-time mean tycoon plus notorious playboy in town) plus their right-handed man,Fok Kin-ling have not yet agreed to make the subcontractors agree to the workers' reasonable demands so as to stop the strike and let our container cargo flow goes smoothly again----------now lots of ships have diverted to unload their cargoes in ports of Guangdong instead of at our Kwai Chung Container Terminal. Who is the winner in this case ? Guangdong's ports of course !
shuike
I think there is more than meets the eye. By stubbornly striking, Messrs. Lee Cheuk Yan & co. hopes to achieve 3 things: 1) financially hurt & demonises LKS. 2) Compel China to intervene thereby contravening its promise in the Basic Law of 1 China 2 system & ensuring the continued prosperity of HK (how can China ensure HK’s prosperity by taking business away from HK?). 3) Elevate the political status of his party in the eyes of HK voters. You can draw your own conclusion whether their strategy is good for HK.
johnwe
If goods are landed in Chinese ports upriver over any extended period, they may never return. Where will the strikers be then? Many will be laid off not to talk of benefits and the whole economy will shrink. They will have Lee Cheuk Yan and Stanley Ho to thank for their dogged insistence that all their demands are met.
M Wong
Many people know how Li XY got rich and his background by corrupting many govt., officials to get cheap land deals and many ludicrous contracts. However, it has got to a point that his greed and ugly face can no longer be tolerated when most of decent and honest HK workers are affected. In fairness, HK people do not envy the rich but they hate overbearing n overpowering people as well as rich tycoons. These cunning business people have power but get no respect from many of us. It is no surprise that many people turned up to support those poor workers last night. I would lend my support by stop buying and using his services like supermakets, drug stores and his phone service provider. We can all do our bit to show our discontent within the law !
captam
@"I doubt many companies in Hong Kong nowadays can afford to give a 20 per cent pay rise to staff,"
Wrong!
Many companies could afford to pay their low-paid workers more if their other single largest overhead was reduced............... the cost of land and property. A disproportionate share of Hong Kong's wealth and resources is going into the pockets of landlords and this is entirely the fault of Government's high land cost policy and its unwillingness to moderate absurd rents. There are tens of thousands of shop and restaurant workers, cleaners and security guards being paid peanuts for twelve-hour shifts because their bosses are paying out too much in high rentals. If Government doesn't soon address this ever-growing imbalance the community will face more of these strikes and on much larger scales. Unregulated raw capitalism is destructive. The excesses of greed have to be moderated. This is not "communism" its just common sense! Its time for landlords to pay the price.
trista827
I agree that the rent is unreasonably high in HK. It's taking about 30% of my expense at friend's cafe while the landlord is proposing another rent increment to us. Many business owners are facing tremendous pressure . Some kind boss do want to do pay rise and improve work condition but its really a difficult task to assign resources fairly.
Shadow
Shippers have worked out a back-up plan to move Hong Kong cargo through ports in Guangdong with no end in sight to the Kwai Tsing dock strike ////// yeeeeesssss this was the aim of strike and this was reason which these dockers paid for to go on strike.all the concern corrupt SAR departments including respected li ka shing is involved in this preplaned strilke.no one including media speak the truth and inside story from very first day this was the reason and it was decided not to reach any deal till all the cargo customers start from other ports which they dont like to use before due to complicate/bribed export process.very sorry for SAR very sorry SHAM for SAR leaders
 
 
 
 
 

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