A demonstration against six major Chambers of Commerce

Today (6 June 2014), Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and Hong Kong Labor Organizations stage a demonstration at the Annual General Meeting of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce to protest against Hong Kong business groups regarding on the Regulations of Guangdong Province on the Collective Contracts of Enterprises (the “Revised Draft”). The business groups have been continuously opposed the enactment of the “Revised Draft” and trampled the basic labor rights of Chinese workers. We urge them to change mind immediately and support the “Revised Draft” in the light of achieving a healthy relationship among workers and employers. HKCTU teased Hong Kong business groups suffering phobia and are very resistant to collective negotiation. The representative of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce initially refused to accept the letter, and left with a bad temper. Protest in progress around an hour after, Malcolm Ainsworth, the Assistant Director of the Chamber eventually come out and accepted the letter. CTU requested to meet the six Chambers of Commerce, Malcolm Ainsworth promised to respond within a week. Enclosed please find the statement of the labour groups.

Last month, Hong Kong Business Community Joint Conference had a full advertisement in a number of Hong Kong newspapers to against the “Revised Draft” and claimed that they were in a deep worry as the “Revised Draft” will seriously ruin the employee employer relationship. Early in April, Six Hong Kong Chambers of Commerce jointly sent a petition to thirteen Hong Kong and China government departments’ officials including the HKSAR Chief Executive and Governor of Guangdong Province in objection to the collective negotiation rights of the Chinese workers. Throwback to 2008, these Hong Kong business groups have been already disapproved the regulations on the collective negotiation rights in Guangdong Province, which in a result of increasing labor disputes.  

The labor disputes issues increase rapidly in recent years and strikes are happening constantly. There have been more than 500 strikes in Guangdong province since 2011. The strikes are starting to last longer, the numbers of participants are increasing, and the impact is becoming more substantial – all of which directly challenge the harmony among workers and the enterprises, also the society. These business groups misunderstood that labor disputes are the result of the regulations on collective negotiation. In fact, the experiences shown in other countries have already proved that collective negotiation is for the sake of solving worsening labour disputes.

Since the Open Door Policy, Hong Kong business enterprises have been starting to invest in South China and enjoyed a lot of benefits for example on land use and taxation. Moreover, these businessmen also carry the identity of NPC Standing Committee or the members of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference who can directly influence the policies making. Now, the working class in China has been arising and urging for an improvement of their working conditions. It is therefore necessary for the immediate implementation of the “Revised Draft”. These business groups cannot only care for their self-interests but must respond to the trend right now. Right to collective bargaining right is one of the core labour rights as attributed by International Labour Organization. Also, collective bargaining regulations are stated in Japan, the America and a lot of European countries. Even in East Asia, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea have regulations to protect this fundamental labor right. Unfortunately, Hong Kong business enterprises are still out of touch of the reality.

We are here to strongly protest against Hong Kong major chambers groups which insisting to oppose and intervene the implementation of the Regulations of Guangdong Province on the Collective Contracts of Enterprises.

In order to promote a just wealth distribution and economic development, we strongly demand the central and local government to pass a legislation on collective bargaining to ensure a fair industrial relation under legal framework.