Rally for Pay Rise and Collective Bargaining Right, 5 Dec 2010

Date: 5 December 2010 (Sunday)
Time: 11am
Venue: Yau Ma Tei Community Centre Rest Garden (Yung Shue Tau Rest Garden), Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon (Exit C of Yau Ma Tei MTR Station)


The Statement of Rally for Pay Rise and Collective Bargaining Right, 5 Dec 2010

Today we launch the procession to fight for the collective bargaining right (CBR). We urge the government to legislate on CBR. Also, corporations should give workers higher pay rise in order to share prosperity.

Collective Bargaining can make a fair society

In Hong Kong, power relation between employer and employee is highly uneven, it is because most of the workers negotiate with their employers individually. Workers can either accept the unfair working conditions, or look for a new job. However, many grass-roots workers must have income to support their family living, it is almost impossible for them to change jobs frequently.

So, is it the workers’ destiny to be exploited by employers? NO! We should have better and fair treatment if we can negotiate with employer collectively. Collective bargaining and agreements are common around the world. In some western societies, 80 to 90 per cent of workers are covered by the collective agreement. It is shameful that the coverage of Hong Kong may be even less than 1 per cent.

The Hong Kong government is the major obstacle of achieving CBR. In June 1997, the legislative council passed the bill of CBR. However, after the handover, the provisional legislative council abolished it. Afterwards, the government did nothing to safeguard the CBR, but has only promoted the voluntary workplace consultation. As Hong Kong has already ratified Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98) of International Labour Organisation (ILO), it is unacceptable that Hong Kong has not complied with the convention. ILO has recommended the Hong Kong government should establish objective criteria for collective bargaining. Unfortunately, the government only stands and watches with folded arms.

Income gap is wider and wider in Hong Kong

Without the legislation of CBR, the income gap becomes wider and wider. We can review the history to proof it. When big corporations have earned huge profits, they have only given low pay rise to their employees. The income growth could not catch with the inflation. In economic recession, employers laid off workers, reduced workers’ wage and fringe benefits even when the companies had huge profits. On the contrary, shareholders and board members still got millions of dollars.

For example, in this year, several listed companies’ profits jumped, some of them even got few times increases in comparison with 2009. Cathy Pacific Airways has recorded high profit, and NWS holding (Mother Company of first bus and city bus) also earned two times more. However, those companies do not want to share prosperity with their employees.

We cannot tolerate it anymore! We should fight for the legislation of CBR to protect our own rights. As the inflation is going to rise, we need a fair pay rise. The following is our appeal:
1) The government should reinstate the legislation of CBR
2) Companies should give pay rise not lower than 7%
3) Companies should negotiate collective agreements with labour unions proactively

Please cosign this statement and participate the procession on 5 December 2010. We need your support to enhance the voice of civil society.