Modern Beauty faces heat over staff directive on political rally

May 12, 2015 13:32
Modern Beauty Salon is alleged to have instructed its staff to show up at a political reform campaign event. Separately, lawmaker Christopher Cheung (R) tells his staff to visit a street-side booth set up by a pro-govt group. Photos: Apple Daily

Modern Beauty Salon, which operates a chain of beauty, facial, spa and slimming centers in Hong Kong, has come under fire for allegedly forcing its employees to attend a meeting in support of the government's political reform proposal.

Over a thousand employees of the group, including those who had been on leave, were instructed to show up for a Monday event where Lau Kong-wah, Under Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, gave a presentation on the government's universal suffrage proposal, Apple Daily reported.

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) has slammed Modern Beauty, describing the company's move as "shameless", the report said.

Modern Beauty is said to have issued an internal circular on May 5 requesting all staffers to be present at the International Trade & Exhibition Centre in Kowloon bay Monday morning for a large-scale promotional event related to the government’s electoral reform plan.

That led to hundreds of employees turning up for the propaganda event, where voter registration forms and pamphlets related to the universal suffrage plan were distributed before the start of the event.

Lau said at the event that the government already has 42 votes in its favor at the Legislative Council and that it needs just five more for the bill to be passed.

The official argued that it is pointless to debate whether the universal suffrage is "real" or "fake".

"What really matters is whether we get to vote to choose our leader," Lau was quoted as saying.

HKCTU chief Mung Siu-tat said the meeting was clearly not related to the work of Modern Beauty employees, and therefore it was improper on the part of the company to instruct the staff to attend the event.

It is shameful that some employers are forcing staff to participate in political activities, he said.

Meanwhile in another incident, Christopher Cheung, a lawmaker representing the Financial Services constituency, is alleged to have told his staff working in Central to visit a street-side booth put up by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy to garner support for the government’s political reform plan.

Though he kept telling the staff on phone that it is voluntarily and that the employees are under no obligation, he is said to have ended the conversations with the following remark: "I am waiting for you guys downstairs."

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