The newspaper The Standard
reported Hong Kong’s High Court has extended an injunction first obtained April 1 on striking dockworkers
, barring them from entering container terminals in Kwai Chung where the port’s container terminal is located.
The paper said talks to resolve dispute failed to materialize on Thursday, and quoted Labor Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan stating the strike by dockworkers, now in its ninth day, would continue, but added the divergence in views between striking port workers and sub-contractors has narrowed
Port workers and their supporters have been demonstrating at Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), a subsidiary of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust), seeking a pay raise and better working conditions.
Hutchison, in a press release, said the workers are not employees of HIT but stevedoring contractors that provide it and other terminals with services
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) spoke out against the temporary injunction
and called on HIT “to engage in meaningful, open and fair discussions with the workers' union to improve working conditions and ensure parity between the company's outsourced and its directly employed workforce.”
Paddy Crumlin, ITF president and dockers’ section chairman, said the dispute “has reached a critical stage” and called on HIT and Hutchison “to put health and safety, decent working conditions and respect for union rights first.”
ITF said the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD) commenced the strike against HIT on March 28 "in protest over working conditions and the company’s disregard for the union's call for pay parity.”
ITF said HIT was trying to “deprive the workers of their right to strike via an injunction.”
“The company's attempts to intimidate workers by threatening to dismiss strikers, as well as its move to replace them with strike breakers, constitute serious violations of international standards,” an ITF statement said.
HIT should “take full responsibility for its subcontractors, to put an end to the exploitation of outsourced dockers, who are earning less for working longer, and to return to the table to discuss the reinstatement of the hourly overtime rate for contracted dockers.”
“Global network terminal operators in the stevedoring industry in particular have a critical responsibility to work with their employees to ensure basic labour rights are acknowledged and respected,” Crumlin contended.
ITF said “The action, which has resulted in ships being diverted to terminals in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, looks set to escalate with a further 500 dockworkers indicating that they will join the strike."
OOCL has posted a vessel schedule update on its Website indicating some of its vessels and those of its alliance partners have omitted calling Hong Kong or are changing port rotations
. - Chris Dupin