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Apr-05-2013 02:33printcomments

Stop Exploitation NOW -- Dignity to Our Workers!

Hong Kong workers on strike are from numerous parts of the waterfront, with different positions and employed by different contractors.

Activists supporting HIT - Hong Kong
Activists supporting HIT - Hong Kong

(YORK, UK) - Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes has co-signed a petition along with a growing number of international organizations In support of the Hongkong International Terminals Workers’ Strike.


On March 28th, more than 200 waterfront workers at the Hongkong International Terminals Ltd (HIT) owned by Hutchison Port Holdings braved terrible weather conditions and stood up to take industrial action in a courageous bid to demand rightful compensation for their labour. Capital cannot produce on its own; without the hard and often painful efforts of those who labour, none of the wealth that capitalists now boast would be possible. In each and every striking worker, we see the dignity of labour – they are the real owners of production, and all they ask for is the just treatment and reciprocation that they deserve.

Only a few days ago at a press conference to announce his company’s annual earnings, Li Ka-shing gave the public a flamboyant display of his wealth. Yet never did he mention that his so-called success has been built on the exploitation of workers. Li happily believes that he has given waterfront workers a job and a cheque to feed their families, but the contrary is true – with their time, labour, mental and physical health, his workers have made an achievement out of his dark and often oppressive Terminals. If these workers had not risked their livelihoods and stood up today in defiance of injustice, we would never have known about the terrible working conditions and treatment in Li’s HIT empire: 24-hour work shifts without breaks, no fixed holidays, no formal meal periods, years without a single pay rise, a total disregard for occupational safety and health hazards…

To repay what is indebted is only fair; these workers have sold their labour in return for their basic livelihoods. When the meager compensation that they receive is far from enough to repay the significant costs of their labour, striking and disrupting production is a perfectly justified way to refuse continued supply of labour and demand just compensation. Yet even as more and more workers have joined their ranks, the company has continued to ignore their rights and demands, and even openly claimed that, despite having no rise but only decline in pay for 17 years, these waterfront workers are not the company’s responsibility. At the same time, the company has condemned the industrial action as ‘irresponsible behaviour’ that has disrupted the operations of the Terminals.

The workers on strike are from numerous parts of the waterfront, with different positions and employed by different contractors. But what is undeniable is that they all serve the Hongkong International Terminals Ltd that is under Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, and that their situation and interests are aligned. Regardless of how many contractors the HIT has hired to outsource labour, the fact that those at the management level are making their living by exploiting the labour of these waterfront workers is undisputable. We are outraged at HIT’s strategy of shifting what should be their responsibility to the contractors.

Under the current unjust tax system, Li Ka-shing is able to earn huge profits from dividends every year, and yet he is not required to contribute back to the society by paying taxes. Li has already taken every advantage at the expense of the people of Hong Kong. When he has come to monopolize economic and political power to the extent that the majority of Hong Kong is working for him, the suffering of the waterfront workers today is no different from the exploitation of every one of us tomorrow. As members of the laboring population, our fates are tied together. Li Ka-shing does not only owe the waterfront workers just and fair treatment, he owes the people of Hong Kong an explanation.

We demand that Li Ka-shing, Hutchison Port Holdings and Hongkong International Terminals Ltd immediately fulfill the following:

  1. Publicly apologize for the Managing Director of HIT, Gerry Yim’s attempt to disassociate the company with the waterfront workers at yesterday’s press conference
  2. Stop employing temporary workers without a ‘safe card’
  3. Conduct salary negotiations with union leaders who truly represent the workers
  4. Eliminate outsourcing and directly employ all waterfront workers
  5. Improve facilities related to occupational safety and workers’ health, and establish a reasonable workplace safety code.

Left 21

March 29th, 2013

Co-signed by:

William Nicholas Gomes, Human Right Ambassador for
Alliance for defending the Grassroots Housing Rights
Grassroot Development Centre
Alliance for defending the Grassroots Housing Rights
Grassroot Development Centre
Hong Kong Federation of Students
Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union
The Association for the Advancement of Feminism
HK No MPF Frontline
Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association
Cleaning Workers Union
Excecutive Committee, Student Union of Lingnan University of Hong Kong
Excecutive Committee, Student Union of Chinese University of Hong Kong
Excecutive Committee, Student Union of Hong Kong Baptist University
Excecutive Committee, Student Union of Hong Kong Shue Yan University
Executive Committee, Student Union of Hong Kong Institue of Education
Executive Committee, Student Union Lingnan University
Applied Social Studies Society Executive Committee,City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Hong Kong Association of Women Social Workers
UK-HK Student Solidarity
Civil Human Rights Front
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior
Friends of Conscience
Women Coalition of HKSAR
Civic Act-Up
Neo Democrats
Office of Gary Fan
League of HK Freedom
Christian Social Workers
Hong Kong Christian Institute
Kendo Club, Student Union of City University of Hong Kong
Women’s Cooperative, Industrial Relations Institute
Office of LAM Siu-Chung and LAM Wing-yin, Democratic Party
Community Service Center of Cyrus Chan, CHUNG En-shiuh, TSE Ching-fung, CHAN Ping Hang
The Women’s Association of Tseung Kwan O Community
Federation of Pubic Housing Residents in Tseung Kwan O
Worker’s Power
Youth Act-Up
Autonomous 8A (HKFS Social Movement Resource Centre)
HKUST Concern Group for Out-sourcing
Labour Education and Service Netsork
League of Social Democrats
PIME Social Concern Group
Grassroot Group of Christians in Kwai Chung Estate
Grassroot Culture Center
Right of Abode University
New School for Democracy
Office of Longhair
April Fifth Action
Frontline Welfare Employees’ Union
Grass Media
Executive Committee of HKCC Social Work Society
Labour Rights Commune
No Flat Slave
Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese
Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
Sedane Labour Resource Centre (LIPS), Indonesia
Migrant Care, Indonesia
VOICE, Bangladesh
Community Development Alliance
Critical Pedagogy Goup
Youth concerning welfare group
Labour Action China
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
Hong Kong Policy Viwers
Progressive Social Work
Progressive Social Work Network
CUHK, New Asia College Student Union
Chu Hai College Of Higher Education Student Social Concern Group
Executive Committee, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Student Union
CUHK Student Press
CUHK Grassroots Concern Group
CUHK Queer Fellowship
National Garment Workers Federation, Bangladesh
Envinonics Trust, India
Christian Student Movement
The Network for Transformative Social Protection in Asia
National Free Trade Union – Sri Lanka
Progress Union – Sri Lanka
Workers Assistance Center, Philippines
Executive Committee, CUHK Social Work Society
Executive Committee, Hang Seng Management College Students’ Union
Staff Association, CUHK Divinity School of Chung Chi College Student Union
Executive Committee, Hong Kong University Student Union
Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Cambodia
Dignity International ( global ngo)
Pax Romana-ICMICA Asia (regional chapter of global NGO)
The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
The Filipino Women’s Organization in Quebec – Organisation des Femmes Philippins du Québec.
National Centre of Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (DPN SBMI), Jakarta, Indonesia cosign
Think Centre, Singapore
Korean House for International Solidarity
Institute for National and Democracy Studies (INDIES)
LRC-KJHAM (Legal Resources Center for Gender Justice and Human Right)
Indonesian migrant workers union – imwu hk
League of Indonesian migrant workers ( LiPMI)
Local Action Links, Thailand
Asia Floor Wage Alliance
Peace and Peace Institute of Cambodia
Youth for Peace, Cambodia
Peace Institute of Cambodia
HKPU Hong Kong Community College Social Concern Group
Executive Committee, Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union Sociology Society
Shunning Rroad Renewal Concern Group
H15 Concern Group
GSBI ( Gabungan Serikat Buruh Independen/federation of Independent Trade Union) Indonesia
Australia Asia Worker Links
24th Executive Committee of Shaw College Student Union
JJJ Association
Interfaith Cooperation Forum
United Indonesians Against Overcharging (PILAR-HK)
Association of Indonesians Migrant Workers in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK)
The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights
Human Rights Ambassador for
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK)
Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union (FMWU)
Gabriela Hong Kong
BAYAN Hong Kong

Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB)
International Migrants Alliance (IMA) – Hong Kong & Macau Chapter
International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) – Hong Kong & Macau Chapter
Centre for Workers Education, New Delhi
Community Peace-building Network(CPN) in Cambodia
WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Youth Labor Union 95

Yours Sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for

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______________________________ Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.


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