Inter-Union Statement: Strong Condemnation of the Hospital Authority and Circle K Store for their Suppression of Trade Unions

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Inter-Union Statement: Strong Condemnation of the Hospital Authority and Circle K Store for their Suppression of Trade Unions

Signatures by Individuals:https://forms.gle/PXamCHYHNbFVupfJ8

Recently, the Hospital Authority and Convenience Retail Asia Limited (which owns Circle K Stores in Hong Kong) used different means to suppress employees who participated in trade unions and legal industrial actions. The Inter-Union Platform expresses indignation over such suppression, and issues the following petition statement:

In early February, over 8,000 medical workers joined a strike organized by the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance (HAEA). They explicitly demanded the HKSAR Government close all border crossings with China by prohibiting non-HK citizens’ entry in order to prevent the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in the community. They also demanded the Hospital Authority provide sufficient protective gear to frontline medical workers, ensure the safety of their working environment, and promise not to punish those who joined the strike. However, the Hospital Authority rejected the demands made by medical workers. On February 26, the Hospital Authority even sent an email to some of the workers who had joined the strike, falsely treating workers’ legal industrial action as “absence from duty,” and threatening to “consider follow up action”.

Meanwhile, the probation of a backup clerk of Circle K Store, who was employed by Convenience Retail Asia Limited, was extended twice after the employee participated in two strikes from November 2019 to February 2019. The employee sought help from the Hong Kong White Collar (Administration and Clerical) Connect Union, which then issued a letter to the company asking for an explanation. On February 13, the day after the Union issued the letter, the employee was instantly dismissed without proper reasons. The company is obviously suspicious of discriminating against the Union and the employee participating in the Union. Although the Union has already sent a letter asking for the company’s explanation and withdrawal of the dismissal, the company has not yet provided an appropriate response.

The Inter-Union Platform strongly condemns the Hospital Authority’s and Convenience Retail Asia Limited’s suppressive actions. Article 27 of the Basic Law states: “Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration; and the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike”. Employees’ participation in trade unions and industrial actions is, therefore, a right guaranteed by the Basic Law. The “punishments” imposed by the Hospital Authority and Convenience Retail Asia Limited has undoubtedly violated the Basic Law, and might have even violated statutes under the Employment Ordinance regarding “Protection against Anti-union Discrimination” and “Unreasonable and Unlawful Dismissal”.

The Inter-Union Platform demands the following:

1. The Hospital Authority must immediately stop all punishments and threats against medical workers who had joined or supported the strike;
2. The Hospital Authority must immediately and openly promise that it will never punish medical workers who had joined or supported the strike;
3. Convenience Retail Asia Limited must immediately withdraw the dismissal of the aforementioned employee and must hire the employee as regular staff according to the original contract.

We sincerely call for Hong Kong citizens to sign the petition in order to resist the aforementioned suppressive actions and support workers facing the suppression. At the same time, we would like to ask for a donation to the Defence Fund to Support Protection against Wuhan Coronavirus Epidemic. The Fund is established to support workers who would face punishment after participating in strikes or protests regarding the Wuhan Coronavirus Epidemic.

28th February 2020

For more information about the Fund, please refer to:https://www.facebook.com/warsfund/