Dockers, bus drivers bemoan inflation in push for pay hikes
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Dockers are demanding a 12percent pay hike, plus overtime pay at 1.5 times the basic wage.
They say their salaries were reduced in 2003 during the SARS outbreak, and have been mired at that level for the past 10 years.
Attempts at arranging a dialogue with employers have been in vain and consequently they decided to hold a press conference yesterday to air their grievances.
At a separate news conference, a bus union called for an 8percent pay rise for drivers.
The first meeting was organized by the Hong Kong Dockers' Coordinating Committee, the Hong Kong Storehouses, Transportation and Logistics Staff Association, Union of Hong Kong Dockers, and the Hong Kong Docks and Ports Industry Unions.
According to the committee, salaries and benefits of outsourced workers stood at HK$800 for a 12-hour day before being cut in 2003.
Currently, they earn only HK$701 a day, with no overtime pay.
"The shipping industry is one of the most important to the economy. In 2012, our container terminals handled more than 25 million TEUs. However, the high productivity as well as profits do not benefit the dockers," said Doris Sin Hiu- yan, lead organizer of the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions.
"More jobs are being outsourced to different trading companies, and the terms and conditions of these outsourced workers have deteriorated further," Sin said.
Stanley Ho Wai-hung, organizing secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, said a 12percent hike would be more than justified.
Meanwhile, the Motor Transport Workers General Union said it is demanding an 8percent pay rise for bus drivers because of inflation.
"The inflation rate in 2011 was 4.7percent and rents also went up. Our bus drivers are finding it hard to cope with this," the union said.