Protest about working hours turned chaotic and pushed police to use force

Protest about working hours turned chaotic and pushed police to use force

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Standard Working Hours employees concern groups petition to Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) Chairman Dr Leong Che-hung (centre) as the Committee holds its meeting.
Photo: Nora Tam/SCMP

A working hours protest on Tuesday turned chaotic when police officers pushed people to the ground. A group of about 30 protesters representing groups including the Confederation of Trade Unions and the League of Social Democrats gathered at the Sheung Wan building where the Standard Working Hours Committee was meeting. They demanded to speak to the chairman, Dr Leong Che-hung. “Stop dragging your feet! Standardise working hours now!” they chanted.

Unionists want a working week of between 40 and 44 hours, with workers paid 1.5 times their usual wage for overtime. They complained that it was taking too long for the committee to decide. The committee includes members of employers’ groups and unions, as well as academics and government officials.

After the meeting ended, the protesters blocked the office exit so Leong could not leave. Police helped him to his car but protestors chased the car for about 30 metres, demanding to speak to him. In the melee, police pushed some protesters to the ground, including Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng Man-yuen.

Trade Unions secretary Ng Koon-kuan voiced his frustration: “It’s been three years already, and the committee still has not decided,” he said. “The employers’ representatives are exploiting the workers.”

Ng urged a boycott of the public consultation next month, saying the committee had had enough time.

The league’s Raphael Wong Ho-ming also accused Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying of doing nothing to help people who work long hours.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Mayhem as workers fight for hours law

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