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    » 05/07/2013, 00.00

    HONG KONG

    Hong Kong dockworkers defy Li Ka-shing's empire and win



    After a 40-day strike, local dockworkers get a pay rise and better working conditions from contractors of Hutchinson Whampoa, a multinational company owned by the Hong Kong billionaire. For the first time, employers agree to write down their promises.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - After 40 days of strike, one of the longest in the history of Hong Kong, the city's dockers have won their battle against the empire of billionaire Li Ka-shing and accepted a 9.8 per cent pay rise Although the workers were demanding an increase in the "double-digit", union leaders accepted the proposal when four contractors pledged to improve conditions and write the increase into their contracts. The salary rise will be backdated to 1 May.

    The work stoppage began on 28 March when hundreds of staff employed by contractors of port operator Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), part of Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa empire, stopped work at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals demanding better wages.

    About 530 workers, said to be two-thirds of the dockworkers HIT employed through contractors, joined the strike at its peak.

    Yesterday, the 430 remaining strikers and unionists went into a meeting after the High Court ruled that they would be allowed to continue protesting outside Li's Cheung Kong Centre until a formal hearing on a permanent injunction was heard. After a two-hour session, they accepted the offer and the strike was over.

    "This is half successful," said Stanley Ho Wai-hong, spokesman for the Union of Hong Kong Dockers. "The most important reason why we have decided to accept the offer is because of the written guarantee from the contractors" who for years "have never put things in black and white and have only made promises verbally".

    The contractors pledged all dockers would get pay rise. They agreed to allow dockers to stop work for meals or for toilet breaks whenever they wanted and to improve safety with the help of HIT. They also promised there would be no retaliation against the strikers.

    The strike's positive outcome represents a step forward not only for Hong Kong workers but also in relation to mainland China.

    Protected by its 'Basic Law", the city's British-granted constitution, Hong Kongers will have to face in the near future the prospect of coming under Beijing's total control.

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    See also

    19/10/2011 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Card. Zen on hunger strike for freedom of education in schools
    The cardinal criticizes the decision of the Supreme Court in favour of government control (and China) which is likely to destroy the educational system of the territory, considered among the best. Card. Zen will take only water and communion every day. Revelations of donations received by him, attempt to cast suspicion on use. The long list of help he has provided: scholarships, donations to disaster hit dioceses , theological texts and translations of documents of the Church.

    01/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong, students still on hunger strike against "national education"
    Protest growing: From 80 to 200 high school students. Massive demonstration of teachers 'unions and parents' representatives scheduled tomorrow. According to the reform, the so-called classes of "national education" will address the major scientific and economic achievements of mainland China.

    22/10/2011 HONG KONG
    Card. Zen ends hunger strike for freedom of Hong Kong Catholic schools
    During his three-day fast, hundreds of Church school students, teachers, principals, faithful, local people and politicians visited him and expressed support and concern. The prelate stresses Catholic education values in schools: life education, love, sanctity of marriage, respect for human dignity and morality. Card. Zen rejected again any charge over donation from tycoon Jimmy Lai.

    04/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Protests and strike against the start of 'patriotic' education
    Yesterday, the six schools chosen to test the new course responded with a boycott. Catholic schools are leading the fight. The admiralty is still occupied by students. So long as the government does not listen, "We will sit out here and more should join us," they say.

    03/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    All-out hunger strike in Hong Kong against China's patriotic education
    After yesterday's large-scale demonstration, more students join three hunger strikers protesting in front of Hong Kong's government offices. They want plans to introduce national education courses scrapped. In their view, their purpose is to brainwash residents in the former British crown colony. As anger mounts among the population, local authorities have remained silent.



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