Trade unions front, the way to struggles: HKCTU statement on International Workers' Day 2020

From the early summer to the bitter winter of 2019, Hongkongers fought an unprecedented battle, reigniting the struggle against tyranny, which we called ‘the revolution of our times’.

After the Umbrella Movement, Hongkongers witnessed a low in the democratic movement, the vicious onslaught on Hong Kong’s democracy and rule of law by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the disqualification of democratically elected legislators, the political-economic regime continues to suppress Hongkongers.

In the year of 2019, Hongkongers learned to unite peaceful and militant protesters, learned to respect various strategies, and constantly raising the bar for social movement progressiveness. However, this is not indiscriminate compliance as we realized that unity is the only way to confront the CPC. We are united to defend the dignity and freedom of Hong Kong people, reclaiming the rights of the people from the regime and its beneficiaries.

The CPC under Xi Jinping has responded ruthlessly to the people of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong communist regime suppressed defiant Hongkongers with a heavily armed police force. Since June 2019, police violence and abuses of power are rampant in Hong Kong, revealing the repressive nature of CPC’s rule over Hongkongers. Up to the present, countless youth sacrificed their lives for the movement, also there are many unnamed martyrs. A lot of brave activists were forced into exile. All of which are the evil consequences of CPC’s rule. 

Not only have Hongkongers’ means of struggling evolved, but our minds have also been armed. In the revolution of our times, the nature of all social movements has changed. Hongkongers should never endure police violence, and must not allow the 'dirty-cops' to become a privileged class, being exempt from legal sanction throughout their lifetimes.

The spirit of ‘the revolution of our times’ has embedded in the daily lives of Hongkongers. Multiple battlefronts have been developed, the prototype of a universal resistance has been formed: in the economic front, the resistance relies upon the ‘yellow economic circle’; in the community front, there are communal politics; in the international front, there are overseas lobbying and monitoring; on the streets, there are resistances as well as Lennon walls. Naturally, the battlefront at workplaces counts on resistance from trade unions. To fight against totalitarianism, the people of Hong Kong have re-examined society relations with an aim to liberate every battlefront and generate strengths for future struggles.

In the revolution of our times, Hongkongers had experienced many ‘Three strikes’ and failed to achieve total success at last. After the siege of the Legislative Council in June, a massive strike of 350,000 people in August 5 and the subsequent strike rallies, Hongkongers eventually realized that the establishment of trade unions for long-term struggles is necessary. 

The new waves of trade unions organizing have changed the ecosystem of the Hong Kong trade union movement. It is a ‘labour subject’ derived from the ‘political subject’ in the movement. The battlefront against totalitarian violence has given birth to the labour subject which has become a new force in the democratic movement. It not only actively intervenes in the current political struggle but also combines various demands of the workers and responds to tyranny with industrial actions. At the same time, the existing trade union movement also converges with the emerging forces, ‘liberating’ the workplaces of various industries and fighting against the vested interests in all sectors. The health care workers’ strike is the best example, showing that trade unions are taking up the baton of social struggles.

In the face of the pandemic, grassroots in Hong Kong are facing unprecedented challenges. Despite all sectors from Hong Kong fight in solidarity against the pandemic, an unjust regime is dragging Hongkongers ever closer to a financial slush. With all industries in depression and workers unemployed, the ‘Anti-epidemic Fund’ proposed by the government, not only ignores the needs of unemployed workers, but also stubbornly ignores the existence of freelance and irregular workers. All walks of life have been caught in an ice age that is resulted from a man-made disaster.

Hong Kong workers are deprived of the right to collective bargaining and protection in the right to strike is also inadequate. Under the current economic adversities, workers are vulnerable to exploitation by consortiums and the regime. While the government issued an unprecedented ‘review-free’ subsidy to consortiums, the unemployed wage-earners can only receive CSSA under strict scrutiny. A social movement and the subsequent pandemic have fully demonstrated that this is not a government of the Hong Kong people.

Now, the CPC cannot even wait until the end of the pandemic to settle scores with Hongkongers. From front-line comrades to peaceful protestors, the CPC ensures that no one is missed out in this new wave of political persecution. The Liaison Office and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office intervened into the operation of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, misappropriating the law for their own ends and cooking up criminal charges against the pro-democrat legislators. Furthermore, they suddenly announced that the two Offices were not regulated by Article 22 of the Basic Law, single-handedly tearing down the false facade of ‘one country, two systems’.

The Hong Kong government has been fighting against the pandemic half-heartedly. In full collaboration with Beijing, the Hong Kong government does not even bother with the window-dressing work of ‘one country, two systems’. Hong Kong people who have gone through the anti-tyranny movement in 2019 would never accept the CPC’s brutality. This year, in the Labour Day action, we reiterate the importance of the trade union front. This is one of the paths that must be taken. Facing the CPC's belligerence, we must be prepared to respond to tyranny with more progressive means. We call on Hong Kong people to join trade unions, establish trade unions, to prepare thoroughly for future battles.

Five Demands, not one less!

Fight for justice, struggle against pandemic and tyranny!

Trade unions front, the way to struggles! 

 

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

29/4/2020

 

Signers (union):

Personal and Community Service Workers General Union

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Employees General Union

Union of Hong Kong Dockers

The Confederation of Tertiary Institutes Staff Unions

Construction Site Workers General Union

Hospital Authority Workers General Union

Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union

Insurance & Finance Practitioners Solidarity Sector

Hong Kong School Non-Teaching Staff Union

Hong Kong Cabin Crew Federation

Hong Kong Dumper Truck Drivers Association

Concrete Industry Workers Union

Federation of Hong Kong Transport Worker Organizations

Catering and Hotels Industries Employees General Union

Bartenders & Mixologists Union of Hong Kong

Railway Power

Railway Power

Hong Kong Information Technology Workers' Union Offical Channel

Hong Kong Information Technology Workers' Union

Union of Hong Kong Occupational Therapists

Hong Kong Manufacturing Industry Society

Preparatory Committee of Property Management Union

Hong Kong Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries Employees General Union

Government Non-Civil Service Staff General Union

Hong Kong White Collar (Administration and Clerical) Connect Union

Staff Association of The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

The General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists

HK Trading, Merchandising and Purchasing

Hong Kong Early Childhood Educators' Union

Hospital Authority Employees Alliance

Union of the Hong Kong Professional Optometrists

World First Bus Company Staff Union

Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union

Staff Union of ELCHK – Social Service

Hong Kong Freelancer Union Preparatory Committee

Hong Kong Construction and Engineering Employees General Union

Hong Kong Sheng Kui Hui Welfare Council Workers Trade Union

Hong Kong Testing and Certification Union

Hong Kong Public Relations and Communications Professional Union

Hong Kong Tourism Industry Innovation General Union

Hong Kong Alliance of Accounting Professionals

Hong Kong Insurance Union

Hong Kong Hotel Employees Union

Retail Frontline Staff Union Preparatory Committee

Tung Wah Social Movement Concern Group

Hong Kong Real Estate Agents Rights and Benefits General Union

Hong Kong Event Professionals Union

Hong Kong Company Secretarial Professional Association Preparatory Committee

Hong Kong Marketing and Sales Professionals Union

Hong Long Christian Service Social Policy Staff Concern Group

Hong Kong Music Industry Union

Hong Kong Beauty and MakeUp Trade Union

Organizing Committee of Hong Kong Cultural Creativity And Craft Employees Union

Hong Kong Teaching and Research Support Staff Union Hong Kong Union of Designers

Hong Kong Educators Alliance

Citybus Limited Employees Union

Preparatory Committee of Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service Employees Association

Hong Kong Human Resources Employees Union

Cleaning Service Industry Workers Union

Hong Kong Buildings Management and Security Workers General Union

Coach Drivers Union

Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union

Union of Hong Kong Post Office Employees

Bar Bending Industry Workers Solidarity Union

 

Signers (District councilors):

Yau Hon Pong

Man Nim Chi

Valerie Wong Cheuk Nga

Wong Chun Yeung

Szeto Pok-Man

Janet Ng Yuet Lan

Chu Kong Wai, Derek

Ho Wai Lun

Stanley Ho Wai Hong

Lui Man Kwong

Gary Li Wing Choi

Li Chi Wang

Lee Kwok Kuen

Rayman Chow Wai Hung

Eddie Chow Kam Ho

Lam Siu Chung, Frankie

Ben Lam Siu Pan

Lam Ming Yat

Lam Ming Yan

Lam Kin Cheung

Lam Sek Tim

Hung Chun Hin Hilson

Wu Chi Kin

Suzanne Wu Sui Shan

Max Wu

Gary Fan Kwok Wai

Henry Chun

Ramon Yuen Hoi Man

Ray Au Chun Wah

Au Chun Ho

Thomas Hong

Cheung Wai Chiu

Clara Cheung

Leung Li

Zoe Leung

Leung Kam Wai

Mok Kin Shing

Hui Kei Cheung

Hui Kam Shing

Kwok Man Ho

Kwok Chi Chung

Kwok Sau Yin

Chan Wai Lit

Chan Wai K

Louis Ma

Mak Tak Ching

Sin Chung Kai

Wan Chi Chung

Ho Cheuk Hin Isaac

Fung Kwan On

Napo Wong Weng Chi

Wong Kai Ming, Bill

Clarisse Yeung

Yip Wing

Yip Kam Lung Sam

Liao Pak Hong Ricardo

Yan Pui Lam Lance

Pui Chi Lap James

Chiu Yan Loy

Lau Yung Wai Ken

Choy Chak Hung

Cheng Chung Man

Cheng Chi Kin

Lai Ming Chak, Jacky

Lo Chun Yu, Cary

Chung Kam Lun, Ben

Hon Chun Yin, Nicholas

Susi Law