Date
23 September 2017
One of the members of the labour front, Lingnan University Workers Concern Group, is vowing to help fight for the rights of laborers. Photo: Internet
One of the members of the labour front, Lingnan University Workers Concern Group, is vowing to help fight for the rights of laborers. Photo: Internet

University students help outsourced workers fight for rights

The Education Hong Kong Labour Front, established last October by students from Hong Kong Lingnan University, is vowing to help fight for the rights of laborers working on the campuses of various tertiary institutions.

The group has helped many of the workers reclaim owed wages and holidays, Apple Daily reports.

One of the members of the labour front, Lingnan University Workers Concern Group, said the university’s contractors have been exploiting their workers by not paying them on time and withholding their entitled paid holidays.

In the end, the group was able to help the workers secure 17 labor holidays while also increasing the number of annual leave days from eight days to 10.

One of the members, Poon Ka-kit, said both of his parents are blue-collar workers who are very hardworking and sometimes have to suffer minor injuries due to the nature of their jobs.

“I always wonder why resources in society are so unfairly distributed,” Poon said. “Why can’t they earn more if they are working so hard?”

Another member from the labor front, Shiu Chui-ping, whose father works as a night-shift security guard, said she has been closely in touch with workers in her school with visits, surveys and protests.

“When you are in touch with them, you would want to change society, too,” she said.

Although some said the protection of labor rights should be done by the workers themselves, Poon said students are in a better position to help these oppressed individuals fight for their rights.

Uncle Fei, who used to be an assistant officer in the Hong Kong Correctional Services before coming to Lingnan University as an outsourced security guard, said he was owed wages by his former employer.

He said at first he didn’t trust the students could do anything but told them about his situation because no one could understand.

In the end, he trusted the students and let them fight for his rights. Uncle Fei said he was prepared to give up his job knowing that the fight would not be easy, hk01.com reports.

However, the labor front’s quest for justice is not without resistance. In June, a Hong Kong Baptist University contractor refused to pay workers unpaid wages.

Despite the students’ efforts, some workers put out banners saying that “students don’t represent us”. Student Wong Nga-man said she felt quite depressed at that moment as they had worked so hard to help the workers.

A security guard, surnamed Ho, told hk01.com that there was pressure on them not to participate in any protests against the employer and many colleagues were forced to keep silent, fearing they would lose their jobs.

Ho became the only worker to take part in the school protests because he knew that his colleagues needed support.

The wages were dealt with in the end and the school also created a third-party platform for students to help pick new contractors.

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EL/BN/RA

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