Jeannette Lee, 17, Diocesan Girls' School Independent labour unions are formed basically because workers want collective bargaining. Unions exist to protect the rights and interests of workers, and when workers get what they want, they theoretically should be more productive. But this is not always the case in reality. Strong labour unions can lead to frequent strikes, which actually brings production to a halt. The continual quest of workers for a better quality of life can result in disruptions to the economy. What is more, protesters on the streets results in social disruption. Take Germany as an example, where strikes have crippled production at BMW and Volkswagen, the country's two major automakers. In Britain, the power of the labour unions has caused cost-push inflation. In the case of car manufacturing, the unions have driven production costs to a point where makers can't compete with auto plants that are not unionised. It would be better if workers' interests were protected by laws and the structure of the market. There are peaceful and effective alternatives for workers' to maintain their rights in Hong Kong. With the establishment of the Labour Advisory Board, the interests of workers can be maintained, while providing a platform for employers and employees to negotiate. The Legislative Council could do more to represent worker interests, allowing their voices to be heard and their interests to be represented. Jeremy Wong, 17, Hong Kong International School There are reports about worker abuse every day around the world. Workers are underpaid or overworked, or they are not given the basic rights they are entitled to. Fortunately, Hong Kong is not one of those places, and it is a place where people like to work. In order to keep it that way, the Hong Kong government needs independent labour unions so as to know the needs and views of workers. Labour unions are a bridge between the government and workers. By developing an organisation that brings workers together, many individuals can voice their opinions to the government that they would not be able to do otherwise. Unions, in other words, are an important tool in raising public awareness, especially when it comes to situations in which employers are not abiding by the law and treating their workers unfairly. Through negotiations with the government, independent labour unions help workers to fight for their rights and help them improve their livelihoods. Whatever the media presents to us, unions are not always against the government. Unions are there to monitor and take any actions necessary to reach a consensus with the government so that full support and cooperation can be achieved. Unions can provide constructive criticism, assisting government officials in making choices that create a fair working environment for the citizens of Hong Kong. This will in turn allow people to see the Hong Kong government as one that cares about its people. This will not only enhance the economic growth of Hong Kong, but also ensure people are happier.