Strikes by dockworkers at Hong Kong’s container facilities continued today, further disrupting truck operations to and from facilities in the Kwai Tsing area of the port.
The numbers of strike workers have risen since late last week near facilities operated by Hongkong International Terminals, a subsidiary of Hutchinson Port Holdings Trust. Dockworkers are striking over salaries they claim have only been bumped once in the last 15 years despite soaring living costs in Hong Kong, and are campaigning for a pay rise of up to 20 percent.
Terminal operators are diverting some truck traffic away from the port but stress operations have not been significantly impacted.
Unions representing dockworkers meanwhile claim more than 80 percent of port business is being disrupted.
HIT operates five terminals at Kwai Chung including Container Terminal 8 East, a joint venture with Cosco.
“While operations at the terminals are continuing at this time, truck traffic within the vicinity of the demonstration has been slowed down and has to be diverted as appropriate,” HPH Trust said in a statement issued earlier today.
The global port giant claims the striking workers deployed at its terminals are employed by third parties and called on these contractors “to engage in dialogue with their workers to bring an amicable resolution to the situation.”
However, efforts by the company to distance itself from the dispute have been slammed by unions, while local reports also suggest HIT is seeking an injunction to force workers back to work.
Gerry Yim Lui-fai, managing director of HIT, told local media the company had been forced into legal action for safety reasons after one of its contractor’s offices was allegedly attacked by protestors, a claim denied by unions. "I've signed legal documents today,” Yim said, according to a report in the South China Morning Post and other sources. “The application for an injunction takes time and requires the approval from the court, but we'll do it for sure.”
A spokesman for HPH Trust did not reply to the JOC’s attempts to clarify the company’s position.