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SHIPPING & MARINE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Dock dispute dialogues still ongoing

Almost 9% pay rise has been chalked in.

According to a report, Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung has urged striking dock workers to maintain rational dialogue with their employers and to be pragmatic to reach a consensus.

Mr Cheung met representatives of the workers involved in the container terminal labour dispute today. Briefing the media afterwards, he said Everbest Port Services is keen to return to the negotiating table with the workers.

He said the Government has been heavily involved in conciliation and engagement of all the stakeholders, liaising with contractors and unions in the past 26 days to facilitate dialogue among all parties and reach a consensus.

“I explained to the workers this evening the reason why I met Hutchison Whampoa first, as I explained earlier on, was to really open the door to negotiation. As a conciliator, the Government itself, we have to be seen to be impartial in our dealing with all parties in order to build trust.”

Progress has been made on narrowing the differences between various parties after three rounds of conciliation meetings held by the Labour Department, he said.

“For example, a pay rise of 5% originally proposed by Hongkong International Terminals has been raised to an increase in pay rise together with allowances to nearly 9% proposed by Everbest Port Services.”

The Government has contacted Global Stevedoring Serv Co Ltd and conveyed workers’ request to continue negotiation, he said, adding the company does do not intend to take part in the negotiation as it has announced a decision to cease its operation.

Mr Cheung added that workers raised concerns about occupational safety and health during the meeting, and pledged that the Government will take follow-up action.

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