Hong Kong staff to be laid off
Following the strikes at Hongkong International Terminals’ (HIT) Kwai Tsing Port, Global Stevedoring Service Company Limited (Global), which hires the crane drivers, has announced that it will lay off its staff and will not renew its service contract after its expiration on 30 June 2013.
Chan Chui-Wai, organising coordinator at Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), told Port Strategy: “Many workers think that Global is not treating them well so they don’t see this as such a big deal. They want them to take responsibility for the working conditions.”
He added: “The negotiations are still ongoing but there is still no progress. We are asking HIT to make a promise to the workers so that all the rates and working conditions can be fixed before any new contractors come in. They are currently offering a 7-9% pay rise but it’s still not good enough. Our demand is around 16-20% pay rise and we want to be guaranteed a one hour break.”
HIT says it regrets Global’s decision and will make arrangements to minimise the impact on operations. However, the labour issue that has been going on for more than three weeks has affected the whole city. The operator said it has faced competition from regional ports which have lower operating costs.
And it’s not just the port and strikers that are suffering. HIT says that if all parties do not consider the proposals with an open mind and try to understand the challenges that the industry is facing, workers across the entire logistics industry will suffer.
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