More than 100 casual library workers have sought help from the Labour Department after their employer allegedly ceased operations and put them out of work, the Federation of Trade Unions said. They are among 500 full-time and part-time employees of outsourced service provider Top Link Asia who have neither been paid last month’s salaries nor payment in lieu of notice by the company following the alleged unilateral termination of employment last Friday. A group of 17 affected staff members, accompanied by FTU lawmaker Kwok Wai-Keung, yesterday also asked the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which manages the city’s public libraries, to help them. The group said they wanted to collect their unpaid wages and get back to work as soon as possible. Kwok, who advised the out-of-work library workers on the matter, said 33 public libraries had been affected because of a lack of staff. There are 67 static public libraries and 12 mobile libraries in the city, Hong Kong Public Libraries’ website says. This means nearly half of all local public libraries could have fallen prey to the labour dispute. It is understood that Central Library in Causeway Bay was one of the most affected libraries. Kwok accused Top Link Asia of “disregarding the interests of its employees”, adding that these workers, who helped to stack books at public libraries, earned just HK$3,000 to HK$5,000 a month. But the company’s director, who identified himself as Mr Ngan, claimed he was forced to stop providing the service because he failed to overcome some “unforeseen obstacles”. Ngan said he had lost nearly HK$2 million in the operations, adding that the company was running out of money to pay its staff. He urged the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to step in. “I want the workers to get paid,” he told the South China Morning Post . “Our operations will resume if the dispute can be resolved.” Ngan added that he would discuss the matter with his staff at a meeting this afternoon, which was set up by the Labour Department.