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[Taiwan] Labor union of state-owned firm wants to form political party

The Taiwan Petroleum Workers' Union plans to work with its counterparts in both state-owned firms and the private sector to form a new political party, its chairman said yesterday.

The mission of the new party will be to protect labor rights, including those of staff in state-owned enterprises, according to Chairman Chuang Chueh-an. He said that Taiwan's labor rights need to be safeguarded by the presence of lawmakers dedicated to the cause.

Chuang said that he has been authorized by Taiwan Petroleum Workers' Union to discuss the details of the party's formation with labor unions of state-owned and private companies, including the Chinese Federation of Labor and the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions.

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HK port strike: 'No end in sight'

HK port strike: 'No end in sight' | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
A strike in the world's third largest container port in Hong Kong has entered a 12th day, with no negotiations taking place to try and resolve the dispute.
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[HongKong] Striking dock workers march on Central

[HongKong] Striking dock workers march on Central | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Striking dock workers and their supporters have marched from Victoria Park to Central in support of demands for higher pay. The organisers said 4,000 people took part in the protest march while the police put the figure at 2,800 at the peak. The dock workers have been on strike for nearly two weeks. The strikers hope representatives from the Li Ka-Shing-owned Hutchison Whampoa will take part in negotiations, rather than leaving the discussions to contractors. The protesters also accused the government of being ineffective in mediating the dispute. A government spokesman said the administration is continuing to help make arrangements for direct talks to resolve the issue. The Secretary General of the Confederation of Trade Unions, Lee Cheuk-Yan, has urged the authorities to take a more high-profile approach. (RTHK)
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No end in sight to port strike

No end in sight to port strike | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
There's no end in sight to the ongoing strike at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals. Port operator Hong Kong International Terminals yesterday decided to distribute up to 5,000 dollars to workers who're not involved in the industrial action. But the General Secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions, Lee Cheuk-yan, slammed the move as being "futile", saying that it would only heighten the morale of striking workers. He called on HIT to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. (RTHK)
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Hong Kong port strike enters seventh day

Hong Kong port strike enters seventh day | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

"When you get into that metal cage, there's no difference between you and a dog" - Cho Wai-kei, Crane operator on strike 


Several hundred striking Hong Kong dockworkers are refusing to back down in a weeklong pay dispute that is slowing cargo shipments at the world's third busiest port.

Entering its seventh day on Wednesday, the dockworkers and supporters camped out on the road in front of a container terminal.

The workers are demanding a 20 percent pay raise to make up for pay cuts in past years, but subcontractors supplying labour to port operators are only offering 5 percent.

Hutchison International Terminals, controlled by Asia's richest person Li Ka-shing, operates the terminal where the workers are striking.

The workers want Hutchison to negotiate directly with their union about pay, and better health and safety conditions.

Crane operator Cho Wai-kei, who joined the strike, said he and his colleagues earn about US$90 a shift, or about $2,200 a month.

He and other workers operating the giant cranes moving containers on and off ships complained of arduous 12-hour shifts during which they weren't allowed to leave their operator cabins high above the ground, even to use the bathroom.

"When you get into that metal cage, there's no difference between you and a dog," Cho said.

 

Costs

Officials say the action is costing Hutchinson $644,000 a day.

"There are some disruptions, particularly for the importers," which are seeing some shipments of perishable goods like fruit rot because they're sitting on the dock longer, said Willy Lin, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council.

"On the export side it's slower to get the containers out of the terminals."

The company has distanced itself from the dispute, saying that the stevedores are not Hutchison employees.

It said terminal operations are continuing but truck traffic in the area where the strikers are camped has slowed down.

The Shippers' Council, which represents importers, exporters and manufacturers, has advised its members to arrange backup plans in case the strike drags on, including having shipments move through other ports in China, such as nearby Shenzhen.

Hong Kong is a major transfer point for goods coming in and out of mainland China.

It was the world's busiest port for years, handling shipments of jeans, shoes and electronics manufactured in southern China's Pearl River Delta for export to consumers in the West. But it has been overtaken by Shanghai and Shenzhen in recent years. 

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[Malaysia] JOINT STATEMENT: RENESAS MUST IMMEDIATELY ACCORD RECOGNITION TO THE UNION AND REINSTATE WAN NOORULAZHAR

[Malaysia] JOINT STATEMENT: RENESAS MUST IMMEDIATELY ACCORD RECOGNITION TO THE UNION AND REINSTATE WAN NOORULAZHAR | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

We, the 87 undersigned civil society organisations, trade unions and groups call on RENESAS Semiconductor KL Sdn Bhd (formerly known as NEC Semiconductors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd] to respect the freedom of association and the right to effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining,  being one of the basic rights of workers and one also one of the core values of International Labour Organisation (ILO)'s.  RENESAS must stop obstructing or delaying, and immediately accord recognition to Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region, Peninsular Malaysia (EIEUWR)/ Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Barat Semenjung  Malaysia(KSIEWBSM)[UNION] so that workers at RENESAS can at last begin to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining agreement.  It has been more than 3 years since the UNION first applied in January 2010 for recognition by RENESAS.


In Malaysia, after being registered, recognition by the employer is needed before the UNION can start negotiating and enter into any Collective Bargaining Agreement with the employer company. The UNION has to submit a claim for recognition, and within 21 days, the company can accord recognition or not. If not, then the Director General of Industrial Relations (DGIR) steps in and start the process of conducting   a secret ballot to ensure that more than  5o% plus one of the qualified workers is for the union – then the union is accorded recognition, and thereafter can effectively represent the workers.  

Even though  about 70% (1,300) of RENESAS’s workers eligible to be members of the  union were already members of EIEUWR when the first application was made by the UNION to the company for recognition, RENESAS did not accord recognition and after more than 3 years and RENESAS still refuses to recognize the UNION.

 

On 18/1/2010, EIEUWR submitted the 1st application for recognition to RENESAS. The company responded that there was a pro-tem in-house union, which was unregistered, also seeking recognition. The Director General of Industrial Relations (DGIR) rejected this reason. Then, RENESAS claimed  that they did not receive the claim for recognition, when the application had been hand delivered personally by Wan Noorulazhar, the Union President, and RENESAS acknowledged receipt. The DGIR later asked the Union to send again their claim for recognition.

 

The 2nd claim for recognition was submitted on 17/8/2010, this time by acknowledged receipt registered post, and again RENESAS claimed they did not receive it, and the UNION also did not receive back the duly signed acknowledged receipt card from the postal services.

 

The 3rd claim for recognition was submitted to RENESAS on 8/10/2010, and this time using the National Courier Poslaju. After receipt of the UNION’s  letter, RENESAS  send it back to Poslaju asking that the letter be returned  to the UNION. Poslaju provided a letter confirming this. RENESAS could not deny receipt this time, and rightfully the DGIR should have done the needful which was to the conduct of a ‘secret ballot’. But, there was inaction on the part of the DGIR for many months despite repeated demands by the UNION, and finally on 12/8/2011, the UNION had a picket in front of the Ministry of Human Resources. The DGIR then informed the UNION that the said relevant documents had been misplaced, and the blame was put on the Deputy DGIR responsible, who allegedly has since then been removed from that position. The DGIR  then asked the Union to submit yet  another  claim for recognition.

The 4th claim for recognition was made on 8/9/2011. RENESAS’s now challenged the validity of the registration of EIEUWR(the UNION) itself, and the qualification of the UNION’s General Secretary, one Bruno Gentil Pereira. When the Minister rejected this objection on 9/4/2012, RENESAS proceeded to filed a High Court case to challenge the Minister’s decision on 8/5/2012, whereby on 28/6/2012, the High Court dismissed the RENESAS’s  application. RENESAS then appealed to the Court of Appeal who also unanimously dismissed the case on 5/12/2012.

 

After the High Court dismissed RENESAS application on 28/6/2012, there was no court order stopping the DGIR from proceeding with the secret ballot but the DGIR did not do anything.

 

After much protestation by the Union, the DGIR finally started the process by writing to RENESAS to submit Form B, as required by law, on about 14/12/2012. RENESAS did not comply and a second letter  was sent by the DGIR  on 14/1/2013. RENESAS again did not comply, and now it is believed that  a third letter has been sent by the DGIR.

 

When, and if the day finally comes for the ‘secret ballot’, the workers entitled to vote would be the workers as of the date the claim was submitted, being 8/9/2011 but with the existence of short-term contracts, many of the pro-union workers may  no more be employees of RENESAS, and this will prejudice the UNION, who still will have to show that it has the support of at least  50% plus one of the number of qualified employees as per the list of qualified employees on 8/9/2011. The tactic of delaying the secret ballot works in favour of the employer, and prejudices the UNION.

 

Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah, an employee of RENESAS who is the President of the UNION was dismissed on 26/8/2011 by RENESAS whereby the alleged misconduct, was that his actions were ‘contrary to explicit company policies’. He allegedly made statements about treatment of workers in a closed Facebook Group, whose members were fellow workers. The alleged misconduct It had nothing to do with his work performance. The wrongful dismissal case is now before the Industrial court.

 

The current trend at the Industrial Courts when it makes a finding the worker has been wrongfully dismissed by the employer is not to order reinstatement, but to rather order compensation.  If not reinstated, workers of RENESAS would be deprived of a leader. RENESAS can at any time reinstate  Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah  without  loss of benefits. 

 

On 14/3/2013, EIUWR and the workers of RENESAS again had a protest picket at Putrajaya.

 

We call on RENESAS Semiconductor KL  Sdn  Bhd to immediately accord recognition to Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region (EIEUWR), and  immediately reinstate Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah and all other worker leaders terminated.

 

Senator Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud

Charles Hector

Mohd Roszeli bin Majid

Pranom Somwong

Badrulzaman bin Mohd Ghazali

 

For and on behalf the 87 organisations listed below

 

ALIRAN

Andhra Pradesh State Domestic Workers' Union, India

Asia Monitor Resource Centre(AMRC)

Asia  Pacific  Forum on Women , Law and Development ( APWLD)

Asia Floor Wage Alliance- SEA Office

Building and Wood Workers International Asia Pacific Regional Office (BWI APRO)

Center for Migrant Advocacy ,Philippines

Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) Sri Lanka

Center for Orang  Asli Concerns (COAC)

CIMS- Centre for Indian Migrant Studies

 

Clean Clothes Campaign

Committee for Asian Women, Bangkok

Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia

Confederation of Free Trade Unions of India

Dignity International

GoodElectronics

GoodElectronics Thailand (GET)

Hope Workers' Center, Taiwan

Hsinchu Catholic Diocese Migrants and Immigrants Service Center (HMISC), Taiwan

Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com

 

IDWN( International  Domestic Workers’  Network)

IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh

International Campaign for Responsible Technology, US

International League of Peoples' Struggle – Canada

Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), Cambodia

LIPS (Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane/Sedane Labour Resource Centre) Indonesia

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility

MAP Foundation, Thailand

Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network, Berkeley, CA  USA

 

Migrant Care

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

Migrant Forum India (MF India)

Migrant Forum Lanka (MFL)

Migrants Rights Council India

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

NAMM (Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia)

NDWM -  National Domestic Workers' Movement, India

NLD-LA (National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas), Malaysia

Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO)

 

Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)

People & Planet, UK

Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

PINAY Quebec

Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers- Hong Kong

PSWS (Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor)

Pusat KOMAS (KOMAS)

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Bangladesh

SALT (School of Acting Justly Loving Tenderly and Walking Humbly)

SBMI (Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia)

 

Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW), Philippines

State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation (SERC), Thailand

State Railway Workers' Union of Thailand (SRU), Thailand

SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia)

Tenaganita, Malaysia

The Alliance of Progressive Labor - Hong Kong

Tourism Employees Association of Maldives

Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) Nepal

Workers Assistance Center, Inc, Philippines

Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)

 

Women Workers Lead

Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)

Youth For Peace/Peace Institute of Cambodia (YFP/PIC)

 

Malaysian Unions

Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Timur Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWTSM)

Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia

Kesatuan Sekerja Pekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Utara

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja MHS Aviation Berhad

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific

Paper & Paper Products Manufacturing Employees' Union Of Malaysia (PPPMEU)

TNBJOU (TNB Junior Officers Union), Malaysia

Malayan Technical Services Union (MTSU)

NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees), Malaysia

Association of Maybank Executive

Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja Pekerja Perusahaan Alat Alat Pengangkutan Dan Sekutu(NUTEAIW)

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Dalam Perkhidmatan Perubatan Dan Kesihatan Swasta-[Union Of Employees In Private Medical And Health Services]

Kesatuan Eksekutif Canon Opto (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn.Bhd.

Electrical Industry Workers' Union (EIWU)

Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Fujikura Federal Cables Sdn Bhd

Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Kelab Semenanjung Malaysia

Kesatuan Eksekutif Airod (KEA)

UNI Global Union-Malaysia

MTUC Pahang

MTUC Penang Division

MTUC Bahagian Melaka

Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Cawangan Pulau Pinang

MTUC Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan

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Talks on Kwai Tsing dock strike yet to begin

Talks on Kwai Tsing dock strike yet to begin | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Workers say meeting is meaningless unless contractors allow them to attend as union members

 

Long-awaited talks between striking dockers and contractors failed to get off the ground yesterday.


Meanwhile, more than 200 dockers directly hired by the port operator at the centre of the controversy, Hongkong International Terminals, began a work-to-rule - adding to the chaos at Kwai Tsing port, where about 500 contracted staff have been on strike for more than a week.

HIT, which insists none of its employees is taking any kind of industrial action, will today ask a High Court judge to extend Monday's interim injunction ordering striking workers off the docks.

The Labour Department said it had arranged a meeting yesterday between contractors and the strikers.

The department's labour relations chief, Melody Luk Wai-ling, said representatives of two of the four contractors involved arrived at noon, the scheduled time, but left before 10 workers and unionists arrived at 2.30pm. "One contractor returned later… but the other said he could not make it," she added.

Strikers said the contractor whose representatives came back was Everbest Port Services, while those of Global Stevedoring Service Company stayed away.

Union of Hong Kong Dockers spokesman Stanley Ho Wai-hong said the union did not get the time wrong for the meeting. Rather, the contractors had refused to meet the workers in their capacity as union members, and also refused to allow their union representatives to be present.

The union was standing firm on its demand that it represent the workers.

Luk said it had now been agreed the workers would be represented by their unions in the talks, but refused to say if this applied to all four contractors. The unions, however, said they had yet to be informed of any such agreement.

The Union of Hong Kong Dockers has stipulated that representatives of Pui Kee Stevedore Company and Lem Wing Transportation, who did not show up yesterday, attend today's meeting.

Ho raised concerns that the contractors were trying to hold talks with their employees separately to split the strikers.

Yesterday was the eighth day of the strike. The 500 strikers have vowed not to back down until they get a 17 per cent pay rise.

Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions vice-chairwoman Ng Wai-yee said the work-to-rule launched yesterday involved up to 300 crane operators directly employed by HIT.

They are demanding a 12 per cent pay rise and overtime pay of 1.5 times current wages.

Despite HIT's denial its workers were taking industrial action, Ng said crane operators were now obeying a rule that they descend to the ground for toilet breaks. Usually they relieve themselves aloft, saving a half-hour trip. Wong Kwai-ting, president of the HIT Groups Employees General Union, said workers would also ensure that even minor problems were checked by technicians, another time-consuming process.

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Hong Kong Strike Clogs Shipping Traffic

Hong Kong Strike Clogs Shipping Traffic | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
A rare strike by contract dockworkers was snarling the flow of ships and goods at the global freight hub, the world’s third-busiest container port, after Shanghai and Singapore. “The working hours are long, and the work can be dangerous at times. Counting inflation, I am making less than I did 10 years ago," said a worker. The organizers of the strike say they have signed up 500 dockworkers from four companies that provide contracted services to the container terminal. In a strategic move, they targeted workers who operate the towering cranes that load and unload shipping containers from cargo vessels. Wong Yu-loy, the organizing secretary of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers, estimates that 200 of the 400 or so Hutchison crane operators are on strike. The resulting slowdown has hit productivity and also the bottom line. Executives at Hutchison — which directly and through a joint venture with China’s Cosco Pacific handles more than half the cargo that passes through the Kwai Tsing Container Port — said the strike is causing it daily losses of 5 million dollars. Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-listed parent company, is the world’s biggest container port operator by cargo volume, with 30,000 staff at 52 ports in 26 countries. In Hong Kong, it operates 16 ship berths at Kwai Tsing, the city’s main container port, including two through the partnership with Cosco. Hutchison directly employs 1,800 staff in Hong Kong, and an additional 3,000 subcontractors through a network of companies that provide dockside services — what the company considers “noncore positions,” according to its stock exchange filings. Hutchison said in a statement that it had set up a special task force to deal with the striking subcontractors and had activated contingency measures that include “relocating internal resources and manpower to sustain the operation of the terminals.” On Monday, a public holiday in Hong Kong, Hutchison obtained a temporary court injunction against the strike; a judge will hear arguments on the matter on Friday. In the meantime, the injunction is forcing the striking workers to relocate outside the terminal’s entrance. There, they continued their protest through intermittent rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, under the shelter of portable canvas tents. “Some contractors have tried to bully the workers by threatening to fire them if they don’t get back on the job, but it didn’t work,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, a unionist lawmaker in Hong Kong who is helping to organize the walkout. He said the union had raised 650,000 dollars for a strike fund. Workers could be seen lining up to collect cash handouts of 1,000 dollars each on one afternoon earlier this week. “I think things are looking good.”
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[Hong Kong] Strike supporters mob Labour Secretary

Labour Secretary Mathew Cheung has been mobbed inside City Hall by demonstrators who support striking dock workers. Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung led about 15 chanting protesters who clustered around Mr Cheung as he entered the building, accusing him of attending a Chinese opera when he should have been out meeting the strikers. After finding refuge in a VIP room, Mr Cheung told reporters he had met earlier in the day with representatives of Hutchison Whampoa, owners of the port facility. He denied that his meeting with the management, but not the workers, showed the government wasn't being even-handed. (RTHK)
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[Hong Kong] Pay rise move as dock strike continues

[Hong Kong] Pay rise move as dock strike continues | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Port operator, Hong Kong International Terminals, (HIT) is demanding contractors raise wages by an average of five percent when their new service agreement begins in July. Hundreds of dock workers demanding a 20-percent pay rise are striking for a sixth day at the Kwai Tsing container terminal. HIT's Managing Director, Gerry Yim, said contractors had initially agreed to the new terms. He said the next contracts would be cut from two years to one to better protect the interests of workers. The dockers say they're earning less than they did 10 years ago. But Mr Yim said Hong Kong's boom time as the world's biggest port ended several years ago. He said it's expected to slip from being the third largest to fourth by the end of the year, before falling much further in the near future. Labour Party legislator, Lee Cheuk-yan, says the five-percent pay offer won't be accepted by the strikers. Mr Lee said the dispute would continue until the employers agree to negotiate directly with the union. (RTHK)
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[Hong Kong] Judge orders striking workers to leave Kwai Tsing dock

[Hong Kong] Judge orders striking workers to leave Kwai Tsing dock | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Injunction took immediate effect last night, but departing unionists vow to stage demonstration at another site in support of pay-rise demand

 

Hundreds of striking dock workers and their supporters ended their occupation of the Kwai Tsing container terminal last night after its operators won an injunction against 14 unionists and any other unauthorised demonstrators entering the site.

Strike organisers said their demonstration would "continue at a new place", and for now would take place outside the terminal gate.

The injunction, which bars unauthorised demonstrators from entering or occupying any of the four terminals at Kwai Tsing, was given last night as the port operator at the centre of the row, Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), said it expected vessels would be delayed for an average of 60 hours if the strike continued. HIT is a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate controlled by Li Ka-shing.

Contractors tried to defeat the strike yesterday by threatening to sack workers if they did not return calls by 10am today to say whether they would go back to work.

The injunction, granted at about 9pm, took immediate effect and runs until the parties return to court on Friday. It was sought by HIT and COSCO-HIT Terminals (HK), a joint venture of COSCO Pacific and HIT.

Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung said he needed to find a balance between the constitutional right to strike and freedom of expression of the unionists and the private right of the port operators and others to enjoy the use of the terminals.

Lawyer George Lamplough, for the port operators, told the Court of First Instance the demonstration was not peaceful and its participants were trespassing.

Confederation of Trade Unions lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who was named in the injunction, said he was disappointed with the ruling.

The number of dockers and supporters occupying the terminal had risen by several hundred to about 1,000 by last night, the fifth day of the strike.

The Union of Hong Kong Dockers called the strike on Thursday and vowed not to leave the site until the workers were promised a 17 per cent pay rise by their contractors, who supply workers to the 12 berths at the four terminals HIT operates.

"In the coming 72 hours, HIT alone have 80 vessels scheduled to call," a HIT spokeswoman said last night. "The average berthing delays are assessed to be 60 hours, up from less than three hours normally."

Last year, Hutchison Whampoa's port revenue grew 3 per cent to HK$32.94 billion.

AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

There is a new development of the dock strike in Hong Kong. HIT got a temporary injunction order (until this Friday) from the court yesterday, so the strike workers and supporters moved out from the terminal no. 6 to the area outside the gate. Attached please find the news from mainstream media. The strike is still going on. Please share with the supporters. Many thanks.

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Strike at Kwai Tsing container terminal set to escalate

Strike at Kwai Tsing container terminal set to escalate | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Unionist threatens escalation as pay talks remain stalled; terminal operator presses employers, warns it will start taking pickets' names. A three-day-old strike (today is its fourth) at the Kwai Tsing container terminal appeared to be headed for escalation yesterday, as both dockers and the port's operator vowed to take tougher action. Amid heavy rain, about 300 stevedores picketed a terminal roundabout as negotiations over pay with the contractors employing them remained stalled. The workers are seeking a 17 per cent pay rise, saying their wages have increased only once over the past 15 years. Port operator Hongkong International Terminals, a subsidiary of billionaire Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa, said its contractors raised salaries by 5 per cent this year and that workers should be making HK$21,000 per month, up from HK$17,000 in 1997. The company continued to distance itself from the worker-contractor talks.
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[Hong Kong] Port strike enters fourth day

[Hong Kong] Port strike enters fourth day | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
A strike by workers demanding more pay at the Kwai Chung container port is entering its fourth day. More have joined the industrial action. (Photo: Sam Yiu Tong Wong)
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HIT to sit in on port strike talks

HIT to sit in on port strike talks | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Unions representing dockers at the Kwai Chung container port will hold talks with two contractors tomorrow, under the mediation of the Labour Department. The breakthrough comes as a strike by workers at the port threatens to enter a third week. However, port operator, Hongkong International Terminals, says it will only sit in on the meetings. The Labour and Welfare Secretary, Matthew Cheung, admitted he had failed to bring everybody together to the table. So, instead of a single meeting, two separate sessions will be held. First the unions organising the strike, led by the pro-democracy Confederation of Trade Unions, will meet two contractors in the morning, with HIT sitting in attendance. Then, in the afternoon, unions which are not in dispute with the employers, led by the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Labour Unions, will meet the employers' side. Mr Cheung called on all parties to cherish the opportunity for frank and sincere discussions. The secretary-general of the CTU, Lee Cheuk-yan, expressed his unhappiness that other unions were being dragged into the dispute. He said Mr Cheung had unnecessarily complicated the issue, and if the talks break down, the Labour Secretary should shoulder part of the responsibility. Meanwhile, at a press conference, the proprietor of one of the contractors, Wing Fung Forwarders and Containers Service, said he was always willing to talk to his staff. He rejected allegations that the contractors had exploited their workers. He said the company was offering a no less than 5 percent increase in salary, but the strikers were asking for a pay rise of around 20 percent. (RTHK)
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Dock workers' strike stakes rise as others join the action

Dock workers' strike stakes rise as others join the action | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Truckers' union calls on members to take sick leave to support the dockers, as HIT continues to deny demands of contractor-bound workers
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[Hong Kong] Container port operator 'trying to divide us'

[Hong Kong] Container port operator 'trying to divide us' | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Strikers say Hongkong International Terminals is using an offer of a HK$5,000 bonus for compliant workers to weaken solidarity. For me, [the offer] means nothing. The HK$3,000 is only equal to 10 days' salary. Why should I care? CHAN LIT-KI, A CHECKER ON SHIPS Strikers accused Hongkong International Terminals of trying to divide them yesterday after the port operator offered a HK$5,000 bonus to workers who performed their duties in the past week or resumed work today. HIT's move came on the ninth day of the strike at Kwai Tsing terminals, and as the High Court allowed up to 80 strikers to return to the terminals to continue picketing. The port operator said last night it would hand out HK$3,000 within three days to each docker who had worked in the past week and another HK$2,000 if the port's operation "returns to normal" one month later. Its statement said the arrangement applied to both contract workers and those directly employed under HIT. A spokesman added that if a worker resumed duty today, he would receive the same money. But workers who returned later would get nothing. According to union figures, the total number of dockers working at the sections of the port operated by HIT is about 2,300. About 500 of them are on strike. That means the offer could cost the company at least HK$9 million. Managing director Gerry Yim Lui-fai had said the strike was costing the company HK$5 million a day. Chan Lit-ki, a checker on ships employed by contractor Everbest, said some workers might be tempted by the offer. "But for me, [the offer] means nothing," he said. "The HK$3,000 is only equal to 10 days' salary. Why should I care?" Chan criticised the company for using money to divide the workers. He said the contractor had texted him and a few colleagues, telling them to go to work last night, but they ignored the message. Another worker, a Mr Chan who is employed by Lem Wing as a crane controller, said he expected the workers to continue to strike. "If HIT is giving out money like that, why doesn't it just increase our wage?" he said. "I won't give in. It's not like HIT is giving us HK$3,000 every month." A fund set up to support the strike had received more than HK$2 million by yesterday, and each striker has received HK$1,000. The Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions refused to comment and HIT Group Employees General Union, which organised a work-to-rule campaign among workers directly employed under HIT, could not be reached for comment last night. Meanwhile, the Communications Authority had received 1,800 complaints by Thursday about TVB programme Scoop 's reporting on the strike. Its episode on Monday received 486 complaints. The complainants said the programme was biased, misleading and did not give enough airtime to the strikers. TVB said it had received 47 complaints from the audience, and the broadcaster had no particular stance.
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[Hong Kong] Dockers allowed into terminals to picket

[Hong Kong] Dockers allowed into terminals to picket | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
A High Court judge has ruled that dock workers can go back into the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals to continue their strike, as long as their picketing remains peaceful. And, no more than 80 union members can stay at the terminals at any one time, but they must stay in a car park designated by the terminal operators. These are conditions under an altered injunction, which had previously banned ALL striker from entering the site. Labour Party legislator, Lee Cheuk-yan, said although the injunction still exists in name, the workers have won the case. The dock workers are demanding a pay rise of around 17 percent from their contractors. (RTHK)
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Indonesian trade unionists jailed fighting precarious work

Indonesian trade unionists jailed fighting precarious work | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

IndustriALL Global Union’s Indonesian affiliate the FPE-SBSI is campaigning for the rights of outsourced contract workers at state-owned mine and energy companies PLN and Pertamina. In retaliation to the campaign workers have been sacked and even jailed.

Employment status issues have arisen for 5,802 members of the Federation of Mining and Energy-Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union (FPE-SBSI) at PLN and Pertamina in five locations. The union argues that as state-owned enterprises the government should set an example to other employers by respecting the labour law at PLN and Pertamina, and employing workers on a permanent basis.

Some of the 5,802 have been employed on rolling contracts for up to 20 years, in clear breach of the national labour legislation. Article 59 of Law 13 (2003) sets out the legal framework for contract labour employment in Indonesia. Short-term contract based employment is only legal when the work of the company has a fixed term, including seasonal work, or work related to testing a new product or activity.

The FPE-SBSI is active in Aceh Province, Riau Province, Sulawesi Province and Maluku, attempting to end the precarious work abuses by management of PLN and Pertamina. On the national level the union is targeting the government minister for state-owned industry, but workers face intransigence at that level also.

In Aceh Tamiang FPE-SBSI workers have been sacked by Pertamina EP Rantau, and local management has colluded with local police to arrest and detain four trade unionists named Rusli, Wahyu, Ismed Rizal and Amir. Sackings have also occurred in Sulawesi and Maluku, and are all interpreted as reprisal sackings for trade union activities.

IndustriALL supports its affiliate’s calls on the government of Indonesia to intervene and bring solution through dialogue with the union.

The FPE-SBSI organized an extra 5000-7000 new members in state-owned companies during the period May to December 2012. 

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Protest Letter -Hong Kong Dockers' Strike, the company violate workers' right to collective bargaining

Protest Letter -Hong Kong Dockers' Strike, the company violate workers' right to collective bargaining | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it

Dear Friends,

 

Hundred members of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD) are striking to demand pay rise while their wages have not risen in the past fifteen years. Moreover they are also fighting for the collective bargaining right to negotiate with the management. We ask you to send protest letters to the Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) as well as its parent companies Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT), Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (HWL) and the Hong Kong SAR government to support the dockers. For this purpose we attach a template which you can adapt and send, with a copy to the HKCTU (hkctu@hkctu.org.hk).

 

On March 28, 2013, the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD), an affiliate of HKCTU staged a strike at Hong Kong Container Terminal No. 6 in Kwai Chung to demand an ovedue pay raise and an end to their over-exploitation. More than 400 are still on strike now demanding for hourly pay rise by HK$12.5 (USD1.61).

 

The wages of the dock workers, who are mostly hired by the sub-contractors, have not risen in the past fifteen years. They have been facing health and safety risks daily, working extremely long shifts, and not being given meals and toilet breaks. The terminal is owned by HIT,and it is subsidiary of HPHT and HWL. We urge HIT, HPHT and HWL to respect their demands and their right to strike, association and collective bargaining. 

 

We thank you for your solidarity,

 

General Secretary

Lee Chuek-yan

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

 

Please send the protest letter to the following correspondences

Mr. Gerry Yim Lui Fai

Managing Director

Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT)

Terminal 4, Container Port Road South
Hong Kong

Email:com.cst@hit.com.hk

Fax: (852) 2619 7315

 

Copied

Mr. Fok Kin Ning,

Chair, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust; (HPHT)

150 Beach Road,
17-03 Gateway West,
Singapore

Email:info@hphtrust.com (Investors’ Relation)

Fax: (65) 65361-1360 (Registered Office, 50 Raffles Place, 32-01 Singapore Land Tower)

 

Mr. Lee Ka Shing,

Chair, Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL)

22nd Floor
Hutchison House
10 Harcourt Road
Hong Kong

Email:info@hwl.com.hk

Fax: (852) 2128 1705

 

Mr Matthew Cheung Kin Chung,

Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Hong Kong SAR Government

Email: slwo@lwb.gov.hk

Fax: (852) 2523 1973

AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

Sample Letter:

 

Mr. Gerry Yim Lui Fai

Managing Director

Hong KongInternational Terminals

Terminal 4, Container Port Road South
Hong Kong

Email:com.cst@hit.com.hk

Fax: (852) 2619 7315

 

4 April 2013

Dear Mr. Yim,

 

Hong Kong Dockers' Strike for Pay Rise and Collective Bargaining Right

 

The (your union’s name) expresses our staunchest support to the dock workers and the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD), the affiliate of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), who are on strike in the container berths owned by Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), the subsidiary of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT) and Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL).

.

We could not imagine that dock workers employed at the berths you own and operate work in such hazardous conditions. It is unacceptable that these workers face health and safety risks daily, work extremely long shifts, and are not given meals and toilet breaks nor fair pay equivalent to their work. We find it surprising that dock workers inHong Kong, one of the top container ports in the world, are employed in conditions so shamefully below international labour standards.

 

HIT, belonging to Hutchison Whampoa, has sought a temporary injunction, to be heard in the court for the granting of an official one on 5 April, to ban the striking workers and members of the union to enter HIT’s berths; and finally that this injunction is sought without negotiating for a settlement with UHKD that represents the majority of the workers. These are not practices the international community would expect from a responsible employer that owns and operates 320 berths in 26 countries.

 

The Hong Kong SAR government has ratified Convention No.87 on Freedom of Association and Convention No.98 on Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). These conventions protect the right of workers to organise and negotiate with the employers over their working conditions free from retaliation.

 

Observance to the international laws and the core labour standards is fundamental to protecting the well-being of the people inHong Kongand the status of the territory in the international business and civil community. Your respect, and the respect of Hutchison Whampoa and HIT for these fundamental labour standards is not only a matter of importance to the dock workers and the trade unions in Hong Kong, but also of great concern to the international trade unions all over the world that represent workers where you and your companies operate. The international trade unions and the members are watching the development and expect to see a fair settlement over the strike under due procedure of ILO standards.

 

We hereby urge HIT, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust and Hutchison Whampoa Limited to respect the fundamental right of the dock workers to strike, and demand fair remuneration and decent working conditions. We also ask HIT to respect UHKD in representing their members for collective bargaining with the management.

 

We wish to see that HIT will negotiate in good faith with the striking workers and UHKD. Collective agreement should be signed between the union and HIT. No worker and member of the trade union will be punished for their participation in the strike.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

 

CC:

Mr. Fok Kin Ning, Chair,HutchisonPortHoldings Trust;

Mr. Lee Ka Shing, Chair, Hutchison Whampoa Limited;

Mr Matthew Cheung Kin Chung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare,Hong KongSAR Government

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[Hong Kong] Dock workers' dispute talks breakdown

[Hong Kong] Dock workers' dispute talks breakdown | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Representatives of striking dock workers and a port contractor have failed to reach agreement on the status of the workers in any future negotiations. The workers want to be recognised as union representatives, not just as employees. A spokesman for the Union of Hong Kong Dockers said they waited for two-and-a-half hours on Thursday, but only one contractor showed up for the meeting. He said they had been hoping to negotiate with all four contractors, and he accused them of being insincere. He said the more than week-long industrial action over pay, at Hongkong International Terminals, would go on. A Labour Department official said the door for communication remains open. (RTHK)
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[Video News] Dock workers strike in Hong Kong

[Video News] Dock workers strike in Hong Kong | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
In Hong Kong a strike by dock workers is translating into major losses for the port operator. The workers are demanding a pay rise of about 20% due to the rising cost of living in Hong Kong. (BBC)
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[Hong Kong] Do You Hear The People Sing? (dock workers strike)

Do you hear the people sing?

Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums,
there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes.

Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade, is there a world you long to see?

Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart, echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes

Will you give all you can give, so that our banner may advance?
Some will fall and some will live,
will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of France.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart, echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes

AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

A video clip to record the strike with a background song: Do you hear the people Sing

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Workers Continue Protests at Li Ka-shing’s Hong Kong Port Operator

Workers Continue Protests at Li Ka-shing’s Hong Kong Port Operator | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Workers at Hongkong International Terminals Ltd., backed by billionaire Li Ka-shing’s port operator, continued a six-day strike for higher wages after a court ruling barred them from entering terminals in the city. The company has lost about HK$5 million ($644,000) a day as talks between workers and contractors remain stalled, Gerry Yim, managing director of Hongkong International Terminals, part of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT), told reporters today. It may also face claims from shippers, Yim said. The time needed for berthing a vessel has lengthened to 60 hours from three hours because of the strike, Hongkong International Terminals said. Dockers started a sit-in on March 28, demanding a 20 percent pay increase as rising living costs and record home prices spur discontent in Hong Kong. Protesters were forced to leave the facility yesterday after the city’s High Court granted a temporary injunction barring them. “We are not going to leave until we can talk to Hongkong International Terminals,” said Ho Wai-hong, a representative of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers. “We will keep fighting.” No ships are being diverted to other ports, Hongkong International Terminals said in a statement today. Hutchison Port Holdings rose 1.8 percent to close at 86 Singapore cents. The stock has risen 9 percent this year. About 250 protesters, including workers, students and labor activists, remained on the street outside the entrance of the port in the Kwai Tsing district, Ho said. The port operator said it must take action to resume normal operations as about 80 vessels will probably call in the next 72 hours, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. Pay Dispute Labor discontent in Hong Kong has risen as its wealth gap widens to the biggest since records started in 1971. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (293) in December agreed on a deal with the flight attendants union, averting labor disruptions threatened after disagreements on wage increases and working conditions. Dock workers, who include crane operators and stevedores, say they are getting paid less than in 1997, union spokesman Ho said. The union, which represents about 500 people working at the berths of Hongkong International Terminals, has raised about HK$650,000 since March 29 from supporters, Ho said. About 3,000 people including truck drivers, dock workers and clerks work at Hongkong International Terminals, according to the union. Hourly Wages The dock workers are demanding that hourly wages rise by HK$12.50, the union said last week. In the review with the contractors coming up on July 1, Hongkong International Terminals will ask that workers get about a 5 percent pay increase, Yim said. The laborers received pay increases of as much as 20 percent in 2011, Hongkong International Terminals said in an e-mailed response to questions. The court injunction was granted after lawyers from Hongkong International Terminals said the size of the demonstration posed safety risks, Radio Television Hong Kong reported yesterday, citing the ruling. Hongkong International Terminals operates 12 berths at four terminals in the Chinese city and two through a venture with partner Cosco Pacific Ltd. (1199) Hong Kong has nine terminals. Hong Kong’s consumer prices rose 4.4 percent in February from a year earlier, exceeding the 4 percent median estimate of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
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Indonesian and Hong Kong port workers share the struggle.

Indonesian and Hong Kong port workers share the struggle. | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Li Ka-Shing should be responsible to the suffer of workers in Indonesia too! Indonesian and Hong Kong port workers share the struggle. Jakarta International Container Terminal used to be a state-owned enterprise, but the privatization of the company through the process of acquisition by global capital in international logistic and supply management - Hutchison Port Holdings/Hutchinson Whampoa Limited - has resulted in the workers’ suffering. The capital controls 75 percent of the container market in Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok Port through its cross-shareholding. Below is the workers’ story: ‘We worked as outsourced workers for a logistics company at Jakarta International Container Terminal since 1991, but now we have been unlawfully dismissed from our jobs. Our situation got worse when Jakarta International Container Terminal, formerly a state-owned company named PT PELINDO II, was privatized in 1999 and a Singapore-based company Grosbeak Pte Ltd gained 51 per cent of the company’s shares. Grosbeak Pte Ltd is a subsidiary of Hutchinson Port Holding Ltd, which is one of the business units of Hutchinson Whampoa Ltd based in Hong Kong. We have been through unfair treatment: our employment status never changed, even though we worked there for two decades... " See box 1 for more story, at http://www.amrc.org.hk/node/1173
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Need your endorsement to support Hongkong International Terminals Workers’ Strike

Need your endorsement to support Hongkong International Terminals Workers’ Strike | Asian Labour Update | Scoop.it
Dear friends Left 21, a platform of leftist forces in Hong Kong, is calling you or your organisation to co-sign the statement to support the dock workers strike in Hong Kong which is now entering its fourth day. Please find the joint statement below. Please let us know if you would like to endorse. Background information in news: Asian Labour Update http://www.scoop.it/t/asian-labour-update Workers Strike Over Pay at Hong Kong Port Backed by Li Ka-shing http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-28/workers-strike-over-pay-at-hong-kong-port-backed-by-li-ka-shing.html Dockers strike at Kwai Chung Container Terminal http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1201735/dockers-strike-kwai-chung-container-terminal Dock workers strike for higher pay http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1202119/dock-workers-strike-higher-pay Dock workers strike continues for second day http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1202601/dock-workers-strike-continues-second-day Hong Kong port workers on strike to demand pay rise http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130329/hong-kong-port-workers-strike-demand-pay-rise A joint Statement Stop Exploitation – Dignity to Our Workers! In support of Hongkong International Terminals Workers’ Strike Yesterday, more than 200 waterfront workers at the Hongkong International Terminals Ltd (HIT) owned by Hutchison Port Holdings braved terrible weather conditions and stood up to take industrial action in a courageous bid to demand rightful compensation for their labour. Capital cannot produce on its own; without the hard and often painful efforts of those who labour, none of the wealth that capitalists now boast would be possible. In each and every striking worker, we see the dignity of the labourers – they are the real owners of production, and all they ask for is the just treatment and reciprocation that they deserve. Only a few days ago at a press conference to announce his company’s annual earnings, Li Ka-shing gave the public a flamboyant display of his wealth. Yet never did he mention that his so-called success has been built on the exploitation of workers. Li happily believes that he has given waterfront workers a job and a cheque to feed their families, but the contrary is true – with their time, labour, mental and physical health, his workers have made an achievement out of his dark and often oppressive Terminals. If these workers had not risked their livelihoods and stood up today in defiance of injustice, we would never have known about the terrible working conditions and treatment in Li’s HIT empire: 24-hour work shifts without breaks, no fixed holidays, no formal meal periods, years without a single pay rise, a total disregard for occupation and health hazards… To repay what is indebted is only fair; these workers have sold their labour in return for their basic livelihoods. When the meager compensation that they receive is far from enough to repay the significant costs of their labour, striking and disrupting production is a perfectly justified way to refuse continued supply of labour and demand just compensation. Yet even as more and more workers have joined their ranks, the company has continued to ignore their rights and demands, and even openly claimed that, despite having no rise but only decline in pay for 17 years, these waterfront workers are not the company’s responsibility. At the same time, the company has condemned the industrial action as ‘irresponsible behaviour’ that has disrupted the operations of the Terminals. The workers on strike are from numerous parts of the waterfront, with different positions and employed by different contractors. But what is undeniable is that they all serve the Hongkong International Terminals Ltd that is under Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, and that their situation and interests are aligned. Regardless of how many contractors the HIT has hired to outsource labour, the fact that those at the management level are making their living by exploiting the labour of these waterfront workers is undisputable. We are outraged at HIT’s strategy of shifting what should be their responsibility to the contractors. Under the current unjust tax system, Li Ka-shing is able to earn huge profits from dividends every year, and yet not required to contribute back to the society by paying taxes. Li has already taken every advantage at the expense of the people of Hong Kong. When he has come to monopolize economic and political power to the extent that the majority of Hong Kong is working for him, the suffering of the waterfront workers today is no different from the exploitation of every one of us tomorrow. As members of the laboring population, our fates are tied together. Li Ka-shing does not only owe the waterfront workers just and fair treatment, he owes the people of Hong Kong an explanation. Therefore, we gather at Cheung Kong Center today not only in support of the striking workers at HIT, but also to protest against the injustices that Li Ka-shing has perpetrated. We demand that Li Ka-shing, Hutchison Port Holdings and Hongkong International Terminals Ltd immediately fulfill the following: 1. Publicly apologize for the Managing Director of HIT, Gerry Yim’s attempt to disassociate the company with the waterfront workers at yesterday’s press conference 2. Stop employing temporary workers without a ‘safe card’ 3. Conduct salary negotiations with union leaders who truly represent the workers 4. Eliminate outsourcing and directly employ all waterfront workers 5. Improve facilities related to occupational safety and workers’ health, and establish a reasonable workplace safety code. Left 21, HONG KONG
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