ITUC OnLine – August 24, 2007

 Brussels, 24 August 2007 (ITUC OnLine): In a letter to the Hong Kong Labour Minister Mathew Cheung, the ITUC has called on the government to help resolve a strike involving several hundred “bar benders” on construction sites around Hong Kong, due to the refusal of the Bar Bending Contractors Association to enter negotiations with the ITUC-affiliated HKCTU which is acting in support of the workers.  100 of their fellow workers in Macau held a one-day work stoppage on 21 August in support of their colleagues.

The Hong Kong workers have been on strike since August 6 over low pay and in favour of an 8-hour working day.   Most workers in the industry receive a maximum of only 600 HK$ per day, about half of the applicable pay rate of 10 years ago.

“The refusal of the employers to sit down with the HKCTU and resolve this problem is causing real pain to the workers and their families, and we are calling upon the Hong Kong government to take the necessary steps to see that they do so”, said ITUC Trade Union and Human Rights Director Janek Kuczkiewicz.

Public support for the strikers continues to grow, with a further rally planned for 26 August. The ITUC General Secretary, Guy Ryder, has just sent a support message to the striking “bar benders”, to be read out at the rally.

Public support for the strikers continues to grow, with a further rally planned for 26 August.