Intimidation of business people must not be tolerated

2013-04-12 04:25:01  来源:大公报

    The strike of dock workers at Kwai Chung container Terminal 6 seemed about to take a favourale turn yesterday.Arranged by the Labout Department, a meeting was set for workers and outsourced contractors involved to talk.But Lee Cheuk-yan of the Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) deliberately raised an obstacle to complicate the matter, insisting that the meeting should also be attended by a representative of the terminal operator.As a result, the meeting was called off and the situation remained deadlocked.

    Such an outcome surprises few people.For, it is exactly Lee Cheuk-yan's calculation and purpose not to engage in talks, but to sabotage any possible meeting and indefinitely hold over the deadlocked situation.Once the striking workers sit down at the negotiation table, his move to hijack the dock workers' strike will be impeded and his plot to jeopardise Hong Kong's status as a shipping hub be thwarted.Therefore, although the workers had the intent to meet the outsourced contractors, they were held back by Lee Cheuk-yan.

    As a matter of fact, the dock workers' strike has hitherto caused a daily loss of $5 million to Hong Kong's container shipping industry, and also caused disturbance and unease in society.Some Hong Kong and overseas ship owners and shippers have begun planning to shift to other ports.Striking workers may lose their jobs at any moment.The strike may eventually end up with everyone becoming a loser except Lee Chuek-yan and his ilk who would feel overjoyed for have things their own way.

    Therefore, the best way out is to end the strike as early as possible, which is in the interests of all parties.To do so, both capital and labour sides must change their attitudes and show their sincerity, so as to sit down on the negotiation table and talk openly and thoroughly in a down-to-earth manner and on the basis of mutual understanding and accommodation.The workers' reasonable demands for improving working conditions and adjusting their wages should be considered seriously.But request for pay raises must be feasible, a 20% increase as currently asked is obviously unrealistic.It seems Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) as well as Hutcheson Whampoa Limited as the "big boss" should also adjust its role and mentality.It is true that workers hired by outsourced contractors are not its employees, so their working conditions and wage levels are matters handled by the outsourced contractors and, as such, HIT has nothing to do with them.But as the Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung pointed out, at a meeting with Hutcheson Whampoa executives earlier, that a big enterprises should take social impact into consideration and take up its social responsibility, and that the company should view the ongoing strike from legal, rational and ethical perspectives and strive to put it to an end as early as possible.

    In this incident, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung's attitude is positive and he works without delay.At noon yesterday, he personally called Lee Cheuk-yan in hope of persuading the union to send representatives to attend the meeting, but regrettably in vain.Matthew Cheung yesterday promised to continue mediating, and appealed to both capital and labour sides not to let a problem-solving opportunity slip away, and to end the strike as early as possible for the benefit of both sides and others-as this was a good thing for the workers, employers, industry and whole society.

    During the incident, the role of FTU's Lee Cheuk-yan as an instigator is obvious to all, but more disgusting and outrageous are the evil deeds motivated to see Hong Kong in chaos.

    As a mass media outlet, Apple Daily went so far yesterday as to carry such headlines on its front page: Li Ka-shing can't care less about workers' lives and Call On Boycotting ParknShop.Incited by this, a group of radical young people in the name of "Association of All Sectors In Support of Hong Kong International Terminals Workers' Strike" yesterday went to set stalls and shout slogans in front of a ParknShop supermarket in Kwai Chung, blocking its entrance.They also tried to force their “boycott” pamphlets featuring Li Ka-shing's picture into the hands of customers and passers-by, and stormed into the shop to place some pamphlets on its shelves.Pestered by them, some customers left in rush...

    Making use of the dock workers' strike, Apple Daily now tries to shift the blame onto business people and big business groups so as to inflame "anti-the-rich" and "anti-business" sentiments among citizens.Its intention is extremely mean and malicious.Li Ka-shing, who makes open its patriotic stand and refuses to support any anti-China and trouble-making activity, has been a thorn in their flesh for long.They often attack and curse him on their publications.But this time, they have gone so far as to "call on boycotting ParknShop".In doing this, they not only tear off their mask of “democracy” and “justice” but also regard the rule of law and social peace as nothing.One cannot help but wonder: Should a media outlet in Hong Kong, a place with the rule of law, ever be tolerated to advocate besieging and boycotting shops and wantonly intimidate business people? With occupying a dock, besieging a ParknShop outlet and planning to "occupy Central" -these anti-China trouble makers now are approaching the verge of making enemy of all Hong Kong people.

    05 April 2013

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