Drivers miss out on time with the kids

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 4:53am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 4:53am

For many fathers working in the transport industry, long hours make it difficult for them to spend time with their children.

That's according to a survey by the Confederation of Trade Unions, which found that 62.1 per cent of those polled work 60 or more hours per week.

It spoke to 197 dock workers, bus, coach and truck drivers earlier this month. Some 25.3 per cent worked from 44 to 60 hours a week. The rest worked fewer than 44 hours or did not respond.

Citybus driver Law Chi-fai, 55, said it was hard to fit in time with his 17-year-old son. "I work 121/2 hours a day … I feel that I owe my child because I can't spend much time with him. When he was little, sometimes I wanted to take him to the playground when I got home - but it was already very late by then," he said. Law added that he has just one day off per week and often has to leave home at 4am to start work.

His situation is not uncommon, according to the survey.

More than half of those polled said they could spend just one hour per day with their children, and 20 per cent spent one or two hours with their kids every day.

Work was also affecting their health. Some 75 per cent said they had aching muscles from long hours in the driver's seat, 45 per cent had aching joints and 35 per cent got headaches.

The union wants working hours standardised at 44 hours a week, and overtime paid at 1.5 times the normal rate. It also wants the minimum wage lifted from HK$30 per hour to HK$38.