Ming Pao staff are considering staging a strike to protest the dismissal of executive chief editor Keung Kwok-yuen should management refuse to meet their demands, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported on Thursday.
Representatives of the Ming Pao Staff Association met with the Chinese newspaper’s management and chief editor Chong Tien-siong on Wednesday night, and issued proposals to cut down on resources in return for Keung’s regaining his job.
Management, however, refused to reconsider its decision and turned down the union’s cost-cutting proposals, saying the suggestions, if implemented, would be “difficult to manage”.
It promised there will be no more layoffs for the rest of the year.
Staff said they are not happy with the results of the meeting and are prepared to take industrial action to push their demands.
Staff Association chairwoman Phyllis Tsang Kam-man did not say if they have set a deadline for any industrial action.
She said the union is still hoping management would respond favorably to their requests.
Ong See-boon, special assistant to the group executive chairman of Media Chinese International Ltd., which owns the newspaper, was quoted as saying by Tsang that Ming Pao will not re-hire Keung.
Meanwhile, state-owned mainland newspaper Global Times published an editorial piece on Wednesday bewailing the political agenda of a small group of people in Hong Kong who it said are trying to project an image of crisis in the territory.
The article said this small group is citing alleged threats to the freedom of speech and even to personal safety through a chain of recent events such as Ming Pao columns being left blank, the missing booksellers and Hong Kong independence.
Local scholar Brian Fong Chi-hang from the Institute of Education, whose column was left blank on Wednesday, took exception to the Global Times comment, saying that journalists would never opt to leave their columns blank if not under the threat of losing their freedom of expression.
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