All On the Same Ocean 同一个海上

Solidarity with Strikers on the Hong Kong Docks 声援香港码头工人罢工


Leave a comment

Striking dockers reject latest offer

May 4, 2013 by
Striking dockers reject latest offer Hundreds of striking dock workers have voted down a 9.8 percent pay rise offered by the contractors which employ them at the container terminal. They are still insisting on a double-figure increase and direct talks with the employers, warning that the strike will continue until a satisfactory resolution is reached. Unionist Wong Yu-loy said the strikers were angry with the contractors for making the offer through the media. He said the employers should return to the negotiating table to discuss the pay offer as well as working conditions, health and safety issues, rest times and meal breaks. However, a spokesman for one of the contractors said it was regrettable that the workers had refused the offer, and repeated that it was final and that there would be no more talks. He also said the company had started recruiting new staff to counter the impact of the industrial action. (RTHK)


Leave a comment

Hong Kong Dock Workers call for global solidarity: Boycott Li Ka Shing!

《工人罷工,我們罷買:全球抵制李嘉誠商品約章》

Supporting Hong Kong Dockers’ Strike:

Global Conscience Pledge to Boycott all Li Ka Shing’s Products

1995至今,香港通帳累積高達28.5%,但香港國際碼頭(Hong Kong International Terminals, HIT)的工人月薪竟然低於18年前的水平。每當香港面臨經濟危機 HIT每每要求工人共渡時艱,單方面要求員工減薪,但經濟好轉時,HIT 卻拒絕與工人分享利潤。2013年3月28日,工人終於在忍無可忍的情況下發起罷工行動。罷工以來, HIT拒絕承認責任,直指工人乃外判公司之員工,HIT在追求利益最大化同時,也將責任轉嫁給外判商,懶理這些外判商侵害勞工權利的種種問題。作為李嘉誠全球王國下的消費者,我們強烈譴責HIT及其大老闆、亞洲首富李嘉誠罔顧企業社會責任,並願意以消費者力量,罷買李嘉誠商品,與香港HIT碼頭罷工工人並肩抗爭。

Since 1995, Hong Kong’s inflation has risen cumulatively to 28.5%, but the wages of the dockers at Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) is surprisingly lower than the level 18 years ago. Every time Hong Kong faces an economic downturn, HIT asks for a pay cut to weather the difficult time through; whereas when there is a profit, HIT shamelessly refuses to share the profit with its dedicated employees. On 28th March 2013, the dockers no longer tolerate HIT’s greed and go on strike. During the strike, HIT shed its responsibility to its sub-contractors, claiming that those dockers were only the employees of the sub-contractors. Having only profits in mind, HIT also shifted its responsibilities to its workers, leaving them to merciless exploitation and inhumane working conditions. As the consumers of much of Li Ka-shing’s global enterprises, we strongly condemn HIT and its head, also the richest man in Asia, Li Ka-shing, ignoring corporate social responsibility. We pledge make use of the power of consumers, boycott Li Ka-shing’s products and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the dockers at strike!

外判制度:假效率,真剝削

過去廿年,香港的公營機構及私營企業不斷把服務外判,以提高效率為名,壓榨勞工為實。基層工人為保飯碗,只好啞忍。過去18年,罷工工人的工資不增反減,工作量更因人手縮減而不斷增加。沉默下去,工人恐怕連立錐之地也失去。故此,碼頭罷工不單是反HIT的運動,更是對外判制度作出反抗。碼頭工人的成功爭取,勢令反外判的抗爭星火燎原。

The Evilness of Sub-contracting – Exploitation under the name of Efficiency

In the past 20 years, both public and private organizations in Hong Kong have gone through the tide of sub-contracting its services, intending to exploit every drop of manpower from the workers for money. Powerless as they are, the grassroots workers have no choice but to shut up and work. All their effort, nonetheless, do not earn the respect from their employers – their salaries fell and the amount of work has yet been endlessly mounting still! Silence has only proved to make the contemptible deeds of exploitation unrestrained and therefore dockers are here to fight back. This campaign aims not only to target against HIT, but also to ignite the resistance to the system of sub-contracting. It is of great significance that our success in the strike adds fuel to the battle against the sub-contracting!

工人罷工,市民罷買,齊反壟斷

是次碼頭工人罷工,不但要對抗外判制度,更是要對抗龐大的李氏王國。李氏王國在香港除了壟斷碼頭業務之外,也佔有及寡頭壟斷其它民生及消費項目的地位。當中包括長江實業、港燈、海逸國際酒店、百佳超市、Taste、豐澤、屈臣氏及和記電訊等,每個香港市民都被逼成為李氏王國中的消費者。李嘉誠作為四大地產公司之首,嚴重壟斷及炒賣,導致香港樓價位列世界首位,反抗地產霸權已成為香港社會主要的社會運動。工人罷工,提醒了我們都是李氏王國的共同受害者,工人及市民必須團結起來,反抗壟斷財閥的剝削。

Strike! Boycott! – Say No to Hegemony!

This strike also reveals an inconvenient truth – the exploitation of the dockers lay roots also to the hegemony of Li’s enterprises. Li has unimaginable control over Hong Kong’s docks, in addition to his oligarchic ownership in many other aspects of daily consumption. It includes Cheung Kong Holdings, Hong Kong Electric, Harbour Plaza Hotel, Parknshop, Taste, Fortress, Watson, and Hutchison Telecommunications. Forced is every single one of us to be the consumers of his enterprises. Li, as the top of the four giant property developers, has devoted himself into the game of monopoly and speculation. His selfish act has pushed up Hong Kong’s property prices to the top of the world, that is why anti-hegemony has become the number-one agendum of Hong Kong’s social movements in recent years. The strike has clearly reminded us that we are all the victims of the hegemony. Together we must stand together to wrestle against these giants.

Continue reading


2 Comments

Hong Kong strike expands after 36 days! More than 100 on-shore and on-board checkers join!

Now that the strike has expanded, the Union of Hong Kong Dockers is needing to fundraise more for the strike fund.

Please contribute HERE! Thank You!

Dockers strike- May Day 2 (1)

 

Today more than 100 on-shore and on-board checkers join the strike. They are employed by Comcheung Human Resources Ltd which by now has one-third of its employees working in the terminals putting down their tools. The checkers of Comcheung complained that they were made to work 24- and 48-hour shifts to clear the piled-up cargos since the strike has broken out on 28 March. They were also promised to have their wages increased by 20% in two years. That was later reduced to 5% in 2013, believably to be the bottom line of “5+2%” held by HIT and Hutchison. Unable to secure further commitment from Comcheung about the effective date and the scale of the pay rise, more than 100 checkers joined the picket line this morning.

The fourth round of negotiation will re-convene today. Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD) is asking the Labour Department to extend the negotiation to include Everbest and Comcheung as most of their employees are now on strike. The union’s bargaining power is strengthened as by now 550 dock workers are on strike for the 36th day.

More than 5000 people joined the May Day demonstration yesterday which is record-high in recent years in HK, thanks mainly to the community-wide support to the dockers’ strike. The local support group is also preparing a call for global action to boycott Hutchison’s products and retail services.

 Dockers strike- May day 3

Dockers strike- May Day


3 Comments

Interview with Hong Kong Dockworker

Interview with Stephen Chan, Hong Kong Dock Worker

by SG
Stephan Chan, Hong Kong Dockworker

My name is Stephen Chan. I live in the New Territories, Hong Kong. I have two children – a boy and a girl. I’ve been working at the docks as a checker for 18 years. In 1995 I got paid 1,456 HKD ($188 USD) for a 24-hour shift. The companies cut our pay during SARS and the Asian economic crisis. At one point we were making as little as 1,060 HKD ($137 USD) for a 24-hour shift. Now I get paid 1,315 HKD ($169 USD) for a 24 hour shift.

We work no matter what. We work when the wind is smashing us, the rain is pounding us, the sun is bearing down on us…we may even work during a typhoon! We are so close to the trucks so that all day we breathe pollution.

We work 24 hour shifts, sometimes these shifts are back to back. When at work we can’t leave, we take our breaks in the dock. Our break area has small cubicles that are about 1.5 to 2 feet wide and have a 5-6 foot chair in them for us to rest on. The break area fits about 100 people. If there’s no space, workers are forced to rest on the floor and in the staircases. The workers who are operating the cranes must take all their meals and rest up in the crane – they don’t come down. They also must go to the bathroom in that area as well. This all means that we do not get real rest while working these long shifts.

In the past we had more workers. It used to be that I worked in a team of 9. Now its cut down to 6. In the past we had 15-16 containers per hour, now we have 25. The company pushes us so much, this situation is really difficult.

There were some Australians who came by here and said that they think we are treated like dirt on the floor. That was their own words, not mine.

I want rest time and to have a little money to prepare for life. Our wives and children and families are behind us because they understand why we walked out. All we want is a contract that returns our wage to what it was in 1995. We aren’t even asking for an increase, just to return our wages to what they were in the past. We want to improve the work environment. I hope that we can have a more equal relationship between the company and the workers in the future.

To donate to the dock worker’s strike fund online, see here


Leave a comment

Updates April 24th

Here are 2 articles that were sent to us as updates around the strike. It is the 28th day of the strike and workers and community, youth and students continue to surround Cheong Kong Center, and did a sit in.

Stanley Ho, an organizer from the Union of Docker Workers, a part of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union states that it is willing to negotiate the 20% pay raise the workers are demanding.

When asked whether the strikers would stage a sit-in outside Li’s Deep Water Bay house, Ho said: “This is something we can consider. It would be better if we can do it inside his house.”

supporters enter Cheong Kong Center

supporters enter Cheong Kong Center

supporters protest at Cheung Kong Center 3

Docker’s supporters take protest to Li’s corporate offices

More than 20 supporters of striking dock workers went undercover to evade security at the Cheung Kong Center and take the dockers’ grievances inside the corporate headquarters of billionaire property and telecoms tycoon Li Ka-shing on Wednesday.

The protesters – including students and activists – evaded security guards on the ground floor by wearing business suits and went straight to the Cheung Kong offices on the seventh floor of the building in Central.

Once inside they unfurled banners and shouted slogans urging Li, the chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, the parent company of port operator Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) where the dockers work, to help improve the workers’ pay and conditions.

During their sit-in demonstration, the protesters denounced Li as “a businessman with no conscience” and called on him to intervene in the three-week labour dispute between the dockers at HIT’s Kwai Tsing container terminals and the contractors hired by HIT who employ them there.

supporters protest at Cheung Kong Center 2The sit-in lasted for about 20 minutes and the protesters left the premises after handing a petition to a Cheung Kong staff member.

The strike by about 450 dock workers entered its 27 day on Wednesday.

The dockers are seeking a 17 per cent pay rise and better working conditions.

Three previous meeting between the workers and HIT’s contractors have failed to resolve the dispute.

About 200 of the striking workers are camped outside Cheung Kong Center.

On Wednesday afternoon, the striking workers encircled the office building and blocked its entrance.

At one point, they attempted to break through a security line to get into the building, but were stopped by security guards and police officers.

Stanley Ho Wai-hang, a strike organiser from the Confederation of the Trade Unions, said the dock workers would escalate their strike actions further if HIT and Hutchison Whampao did not respond to their demands.

Striking dockers to adjust their ’20pc pay rise’ bottom line 

Wednesday, 24 April, 2013,

The union representing the 450 striking dockers says it will come up with a new bottom line in the next couple of days in a bid for a “breakthrough” in the workers’ weeks-long walkout.

Speaking after a three-hour meeting with half of the striking dockers on the 27th day of the industrial action yesterday, Union of Hong Kong Dockers spokesman Stanley Ho Wai-hong said the union had yet to come to a decision on the new bottom line, but it would definitely be a “two-digit number”.

“It could be 11 per cent or 19 per cent,” Ho said. But the contractors had to offer much better benefits, he added.

“The dockers want to show a sign of sincerity and hope there will be a breakthrough. They want the public to know they want the strike to end, too.”

The strikers had been demanding HK$100 more for each shift they worked, meaning a rise of about 20 per cent.

Ho said they also had plans for further action that would take the form of sit-ins and protests in places other than their current strike base at the Cheung Kong Center in Central.

The Center is the office of tycoon Li Ka-shing, whose Hutchison Whampoa is parent company of the strike-hit port operator Hongkong International Terminals (HIT).

Asked whether the strikers would stage a sit-in outside Li’s Deep Water Bay house, Ho said: “This is something we can consider. It would be better if we can do it inside his house.”

Separately, HIT placed its third advertisement in several newspapers yesterday, saying it had to deliver “the truth behind distorted remarks” made by the strike organiser earlier.

HIT said the advertisement placed by the strike organiser on Monday was “misleading” and was in need of clarification.

It criticised the union’s advertisement for misleading the public by saying that Hutchison Port Holdings – which HIT is under – made HK$780 million in profits last year.

HIT clarified that the amount of profit was from all the 52 ports in 26 countries under Hutchison Port. HIT’s profits were less than a tenth of that amount, it said.


Leave a comment

LabourStart campaign: More than 8000 protest to port bosses

LabourStart  www.labourstart.org has been running an online campaign at the request of the Hong Kong Dockworkers Union and the International Transport Workers Federation, getting people to send off protest emails to the port bosses. Currently they’ve generated over 8,200 messages.

Please join in this form of e-campaigning, and spread the link: http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1778

LabourStart is a superb source of daily media postings from all over the globe. Check it.