Dockers' supporters take protest to Li's corporate offices
More than 20 supporters of striking dock workers went undercover to evade security at the Cheung Kong Center and take the dockers’ grievances inside the corporate headquarters of billionaire property and telecoms tycoon Li Ka-shing on Wednesday.
The protesters – including students and activists – evaded security guards on the ground floor by wearing business suits and went straight to the Cheung Kong offices on the seventh floor of the building in Central.
Once inside they unfurled banners and shouted slogans urging Li, the chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, the parent company of port operator Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) where the dockers work, to help improve the workers’ pay and conditions.
During their sit-in demonstration, the protesters denounced Li as “a businessman with no conscience” and called on him to intervene in the three-week labour dispute between the dockers at HIT’s Kwai Tsing container terminals and the contractors hired by HIT who employ them there.
The sit-in lasted for about 20 minutes and the protesters left the premises after handing a petition to a Cheung Kong staff member.
The strike by about 450 dock workers entered its 27 day on Wednesday.
The dockers are seeking a 17 per cent pay rise and better working conditions.
Three previous meeting between the workers and HIT’s contractors have failed to resolve the dispute.
About 200 of the striking workers are camped outside Cheung Kong Center.
On Wednesday afternoon, the striking workers encircled the office building and blocked its entrance.
At one point, they attempted to break through a security line to get into the building, but were stopped by security guards and police officers.
Stanley Ho Wai-hang, a strike organiser from the Confederation of the Trade Unions, said the dock workers would escalate their strike actions further if HIT and Hutchison Whampao did not respond to their demands.