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Rise in disputes over salary among Hong Kong firms in China

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Hong Kong bosses are involved in 25 cases of labour disputes affecting up to 150,000 workers on the mainland, according to a study by Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions.

The annual Monitoring Report on Collective Labour Disputes of Hong Kong Enterprises in China looked at about 50,000 Hong Kong corporates operating in the Pearl River Delta region.

It found that from May last year to April this year, there have been 25 cases of strikes and disputes over salary.

This was a 40% year-on-year increase.

The report shamed listed companies like jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook, manufacturer Kingboard Chemical, clothing retailer G2000 owned by lawmaker Michael Tien Puk Sun for violating labour rights.

Other Hong Kong-owned companies which supply to brands like Wal-Mart and Uniqlo were also slammed for missing or underpaying social security premiums for workers.

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“There had been cases of employers refusing to negotiate and they called the mainland police to crackdown on strikes,” labour lawmaker and general secretary of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, Lee Cheuk Yan said.

“When workers decide to go on strikes, 80% of all cases have resulted in assault, suppression or detention. I believe this is collusion between the Hong Kong employer and the local government and the Chinese government.”

Lee pointed out that about 30% of the companies involved in labour disputes are listed companies and 20% have had been involved in disputes more than once.

“These companies have no regard for corporate social responsibilities.  I suggest regulatory bodies to monitor more closely on  how listed companies are treating their employees,” he said.

He added multinational corporations should voluntarily sign-up to follow the organisation for economic cooperation and development guidelines for multinational corporations on a code of conduct on wages.

Image: Shutterstock

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