The union representing the 450 striking dockers says it will come up with a new bottom line in the next couple of days in a bid for a "breakthrough" in the workers' weeks-long walkout.
Speaking after a three-hour meeting with half of the striking dockers on the 27th day of the industrial action yesterday, Union of Hong Kong Dockers spokesman Stanley Ho Wai-hong said the union had yet to come to a decision on the new bottom line, but it would definitely be a "two-digit number".
"It could be 11 per cent or 19 per cent," Ho said. But the contractors had to offer much better benefits, he added.
"The dockers want to show a sign of sincerity and hope there will be a breakthrough. They want the public to know they want the strike to end, too."
The strikers had been demanding HK$100 more for each shift they worked, meaning a rise of about 20 per cent.
Ho said they also had plans for further action that would take the form of sit-ins and protests in places other than their current strike base at the Cheung Kong Center in Central.
The Center is the office of tycoon Li Ka-shing, whose Hutchison Whampoa is parent company of the strike-hit port operator Hongkong International Terminals (HIT).
Asked whether the strikers would stage a sit-in outside Li's Deep Water Bay house, Ho said: "This is something we can consider. It would be better if we can do it inside his house."
Separately, HIT placed its third advertisement in several newspapers yesterday, saying it had to deliver "the truth behind distorted remarks" made by the strike organiser earlier.
HIT said the advertisement placed by the strike organiser on Monday was "misleading" and was in need of clarification.
It criticised the union's advertisement for misleading the public by saying that Hutchison Port Holdings - which HIT is under - made HK$780 million in profits last year.
HIT clarified that the amount of profit was from all the 52 ports in 26 countries under Hutchison Port. HIT's profits were less than a tenth of that amount, it said.