Port operator Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) claims nearly all of the 3,000 contracted dock workers at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals have agreed to its pay rise proposal of 10.1 per cent.
But Stanley Ho Wai-hong, general secretary of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers, disputed the claim, saying only half of the workers had accepted the plan.
"We will not rule out the possibility of taking industrial action," said Ho, organiser of last year's 40-day strike, during which throughput fell 10.7 per cent at the terminals.
The union is demanding a raise for dockers of 14 per cent.
HIT said yesterday that 96 per cent of contracted dockers had agreed to the 10.1 per cent rise from next month. That entails a 6 per cent base salary increase and an extra 4.1 per cent in discretionary pay under a new incentive scheme. Workers who maintain productivity at the same level as for the second half of last year would receive the additional 4.1 per cent pay.
HIT said most of the dockers who had not agreed to the proposal were away on holiday. It will hold briefings for workers in the coming weeks to explain how the pay rise will be calculated.
Last year, hundreds of dockers walked off the job at HIT's terminals to push for a 20 per cent raise. They eventually settled for 9.8 per cent and improved working conditions.
Ho yesterday criticised contractor Pui Kee Stevedore, which employs more than 100 dockers, for failing to follow through on last year's agreement. He said Pui Kee had treated the HK$45 meal allowance as part of its base salary increase. That meant its dockers' base wage has gone up just HK$2 in the past year - from HK$470 to HK$472, he said.
Pui Kee dismissed that claim yesterday, accusing Ho of making false allegations.