To many workers at New World First Bus, Chung Chung-fai, chairman of the staff union is worth his weight in gold. He was the man behind the union's planned go-slow protest against proposed changes to the company's bonus system. Management wanted to change the employees' guaranteed annual bonus into a discretionary one. But last Thursday, company executives bowed to the union's request and withdrew the proposal hours before the go-slow was due to start. Mr Chung, who is known as Fai Gor (Brother Fai) among the drivers, was greeted with smiles and offers of lunch on Friday. 'The bonus is very important to the employees,' Mr Chung said. 'They depend on that cheque to pay their taxes at the end of the year and for extra spending during Chinese New Year.' In the past month, Mr Chung and other union members held five meetings with company executives - including several with mediators from the labour and transport departments - before the company yielded to the union's request. 'We don't know why the company changed the plan so suddenly,' he said. 'I believe the Transport Department has put a certain amount of pressure on company executives.' Mr Chung, 49, became a bus driver in 1979 after he had been a factory worker, delivery man and illegal hawker selling fruit. 'I don't have much education, so I didn't have many choices,' he said. 'I just wanted a stable job, that's why I became a bus driver. Back then, the salary of a driver was higher than that of a civil servant.' When Mr Chung first started driving buses, the steering was so heavy that he had to stand each time he made a wide turn. The public transportation system was also less extensive. 'Society didn't have a lot of expectations,' Mr Chung recalled. 'They were just happy to get on a bus.' Having been involved with the bus union since the 1980s and union chairman since 1998, Mr Chung is a firm believer in democracy and labour unions. He is also vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. 'If there was no democracy, there would be no industrial action and workers could easily be abused,' he said. On his days off, Mr Chung returns to the union office in Yau Ma Tei to deal with administrative tasks, such as organising the training of future union leaders and settling disputes between employees and the company. His wife complains that he does not spend enough time with her, but yet is supportive of his work with the union. Sometimes, she accompanies him to union meetings just so she can spend more time with him. 'I enjoy driving and doing labour union work,' Mr Chung said. 'Even after I retire, I plan to continue my work with the union.'