GRASSROOTS issues are set to get a better hearing in the new Legislative Council, according to newly elected independent unionist Leung Yiu-chung. The needs of the working class had previously been neglected as the workers had been unable to elect their representatives to important political institutions like the legislature, he said. 'It is only with this election, with a number of prominent unionists elected into the Legco, that the Gov-ernment and the business sector felt the presence of a strong labour voice,' he added. A dedicated Trotskyist in the 1970s, Mr Leung says he is no longer interested in ideology and would rather strive to bring real benefits to the working class. 'I am not advocating class confrontation in Hong Kong but the employers are sometimes too indifferent to the plight of the workers, especially those squeezed out in the sunset industries,' he said. 'I recognise that the employers are facing difficult times and in recent years they have had to cope with escalating costs, but the employees are even worse off and they could be on the dole for a long time once they are laid off. 'We have a responsibility to listen to the 130,000 unemployed workers.' As an independent unionist, Mr Leung said his position on labour affairs might be marginalised by the trade union heavyweights in the legislature. He believes trade union leaders such as Lee Cheuk-yan will probably take the lead in pressing the case for employment protection and he would rather follow their course. 'It will not be easy for me to present a distinctively different voice in the chamber as we will have to unite to fight for labour's interest,' he said. He claims he is not going to table any radical bills or motions to the council in the first few months as he needs time to get to know all the procedures and rules of the legislature. Having served as a district board member for 10 years, Mr Leung believes joining Legco will be a completely different experience for him and he feels nervous in taking up the role. 'I think it will take some time for me to get used to the enormous media coverage on legislators,' he says.