No compromise for workers’ rights!! Bring workers’ voice back to the LegCo - Vote on 25 November!
Lee Cheuk Yan has always upholds his belief throughout his journey with the workers: Say no to suppression and resist with courage, perseverance brings changes. When Yan first proposed minimum wage legislation years ago, most people thought the mission was impossible. 12 years later, with relentless effort with the workers, minimum wage protection was made possible for the Hong Kong workers. Workers under government outsourced contracts have always been squeezed, but more than 20 janitors in Hoi Lai Estate decided to speak out. Their action brought themselves fairer treatment and opportunity to change the unjust government out-sourcing practice. Labour movement was never an easy journey, but Yan believes that change is always possible with perseverance.
Legislation on Minimum Wage
Janitors were paid HK$7 and fast-food shop workers HK$12 for their hourly work. Could you imagine this was happenning in Hong Kong? Since 1998, every Labour Day Parade demanded for the legislation of minimum wage. In fact, as early as 2000, Yan proposed legislation for minimum wage and setting up a committee on low-income issues at the Legislative Council. However, only 9 Legislative Councilors supported the proposal.
For more than 10 years, Yan and the HKCTU did not give up. As stories of exploitation of workers with extreme low salary reported by media and persistent struggles of workers in solidarity continued, the then governmentwa agreed to set minimum wage for security guards and janitors under government sub-contracts in 2004. The government announced the voluntary Wage Protection Movement in 2006, which gained no achievement. We continued our fight within and outside the LegCo and successfully forced the government to legislate for minimum wage in October 2008.
Next goal: Annual review on minimum wage level to meet basic living needs.
The HKCTU conducted study on wage level of fast-food shop employees in October 1998, and found that the McDonald paid the lowest hourly rate.
Fight against long working hours
Workers in Hong Kong, both the while-collars and blue-collars, have the longest working hours in the world. The serious bus accidents last year have caused severe casualties. The bus accident in Shamshuipo exposed fatigue driving of bus drivers under long working hours. The incident also revealed the astonishing fact that the Guidelines on Bus Captain Working Hours, Rest Times and Meal Breaks issued by the Transport Department allowed working hours of bus drivers to be a long as 14 hours a day.
The Bus Union Federation immediately launched the “Shorter Working Hours, Higher Basic Salary” Campaign. The Federation conducted community publicity campaign and collected signatures from citizens, and submitted statement to the independent committee. Eventually, the bus company agreed to include bonus as part of basic salary and a minimum raise of $1100 in monthly salary, which is higher than previous years, and pledged to limit daily driving hours at 10 hours.
During the “Shorter Working Hours, Higher Basic Salary” Campaign, citizens showed their support to bus drivers in the community activities.
Sometimes we lose, sometimes we win. We may not win all the battles, but every battle brought some changes which eventually improve the life of workers and their families. We cannot afford losing any workers’ rights. A seat in the Legislative Council is a seat for workers’ voice.
Let the voice of workers be heard in the LegCo! Vote on 25 November!
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
19/F, Wing Wong Cmercial Building, 557-559 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei
電話 Telephone: 27708668 傳真 Fax: 27707388