Li Ka-shing, a Chinese billionaire with investments in container port facilities around the world, including in Hong Kong, has moved to end a four-week strike affecting operations at Hongkong International Terminals in Hong Kong by hiring new workers to handle ships and demanding protesters leave his building in the city’s Central District, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Some dockworkers, who are seeking better pay and working conditions, remained camped around Li’s Cheung Kong Center building, even after Li gave them a deadline to leave. About 300 workers also slowly walked on the road in front of the container port, blocking the road for several hours, leaving trucks backed up for “several kilometers,” according to Fox News.
The new workers and the return of some strikers to work have cut the waiting time for ships to an average of 20 to 25 hours, compared with about 60 hours when the strike started, Hongkong International Terminals said in an emailed statement to a Businessweek reporter. The docks are currently operating at about 90 percent capacity, but at least 100 vessels have already skipped Hong Kong since the strike started on March 28 in favor of nearby ports.
Work to rule by members of the HIT union ended on April 22 after an agreement was made with HIT management to give overtime compensation of 1.4 times the hourly rate, a victory for the union, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation. Furthermore, an application for an interim injunction to stop demonstrators from picketing outside the headquarters of Hutchison Port Holdings, which owns HIT, was rejected on April 25.