Strong presence for unions, grass roots

TRADE unionist Law Shuk-ching said grass-roots interests were well represented in the Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) for the Special Administrative Region Preparatory Committee.

Mr Law, secretary of the New Territories Association of Societies, said at least five of the 30 Hong Kong nominees to the PWC could represent the interests of the grass roots.

Apart from himself, the others were: Lee Chak-tim, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU); Tam Yiu-chung, vice-chairman of the FTU; Tsang Yok-sing, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong; and Ng Hong-mun, a local delegate to the National People's Congress.

''We are in touch with different people. We can collect opinions through different channels,'' he said.

In particular, he would collect opinions from the people in rural areas through the 53 trade unions grouped under the association of which he is secretary. The body has about 60,000 members.

It was inevitable that the majority of PWC members came from the business sector, he said, because Hong Kong was a commercial city.


He did not think it was necessary to have a committee with wide representation across the political spectrum.

''Given a limited number of members and the nature of a working committee, it is better to have fewer people who can work together to sit on the PWC,'' he said.

But the SAR Preparatory Committee might need to include people from the liberal camp or those holding different views from China, he said.

Although some local delegates to the National People's Congress have expressed dissatisfaction about not being named to the PWC, Mr Law said he did not think all of them should be appointed.


''They can air their opinions but this does not mean that all of them should join us,'' he said.

Mr Law said the PWC should discuss the most controversial transitional matters: the political structure, the civil service, and law and order.


He stressed the importance of maintaining stability.

The PWC could talk, for instance, about strengthening Sino-Hong Kong co-operationto combat cross-border crime.

Yet the PWC should keep a low profile to avoid hurting the Hong Kong administration, he said.


But Mr Law agreed that the financing arrangements for the new airport and its rail link should be discussed.

''We should look into the airport projects as their cost may pose a heavy financial burden on the SAR,'' he said.

Mr Law started working as a trade unionist in the Hong Kong Graziers Union in 1976 and has kept the title of vice-chairman.