Hong Kong Port Dispute Intensifies

Published May 3, 2013 9:15 AM by The Maritime Executive

In the latest news from Hong Kong the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD) reports that employees of Comcheung Limited joined the dockers’ strike yesterday. Comcheung, a contractor at Kwai Chung container terminals, immediately offered workers a wage increase and one-off cash bonus. This offer was rejected, with workers calling for a written agreement. Their union and the ITF-affiliated UHKD have called on the company to join the negotations with Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), which is owned by global network terminal operator Hutchison Port Holdings.

Comcheung is reported to be actively recruiting striking crane operators who were laid off by HIT contractor Global Stevedoring, which announced its closure two weeks ago.

The UHKD also reports that some 530 workers are now on strike, including more than 80 per cent of the checkers and lashers in the terminals.  The union believes that HIT is hiring replacement workers and requesting that non-striking employees work consecutive shifts. The union has highlighted health and safety concerns following a reported increase in occupational injuries.

On the same day, the latest round of negotiations between the UHKD and contractor Everbest Port Services and HIT failed, with Everbest refusing to put a wage deal in writing.

Today, 3 May, the High Court will hear two injunction requests made by Cheung Kong Centre against the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and the UHKD. The injunction seek to prevent the organisations' leaders from entering and demonstrating outside its properties. Cheung Kong Centre is part owned by Hutchison Whampoa Limited.