Learners driving tests were suspended at a motoring school on Friday after instructors went on strike to protest the school’s decision to sack two experienced fellow instructors.
The strikers blocked the entrance of the Hong Kong School of Motoring’s branch in Yuen Long with about 10 private cars, tyres and wooden objects on Friday morning.
They were protesting the school’s decision to sack two experienced instructors and then hire new replacements at cheaper wages. They demanded a meeting with management and reinstatement of the two instructors.
The school is one of two government-designated driving schools in Hong Kong. Besides the campus in Yuen Long, the school has two others, in Sha Tin and in Ap Lei Chau.
As a result of the strike, the Transport Department suspended all tests scheduled at the Yuen Long campus.
Nine candidates were affected, the department said. They would have to rearrange with the department to take the tests on a later date.
One of the two instructors sacked said the school did not explain why he was sacked in a notice sent to him.
He said his sacking made him anxious because he had been teaching driving for 20 years and he was concerned he did not have the skills to find new work.
“I am even not qualified to be a security guard. I don’t know how I can make a living for me and my family,” the instructor said.
A spokesman for the school dismissed the suggestion that the two were sacked because of their wage levels. He said wages were not the only factor in its decision to sack or hire.
“This industry is special in that we have to spending a long time training new employees before they become professional. So it is unreasonable to sack one and hire another purely because of differences in their wage levels,” the spokesman said.
“If the employees feel their [sacking] inappropriate, they should have resorted to other legal means to seek redress, rather than harming the public by striking,” he said.
The strike was suspended at noon and the blocking cars were removed by the strikers..