Justice League Rises to Aid Hong Kong Strike at Superman's Inaction
As the dockworkers of the Kwai Tsing dock in Hong Kong continue their strike efforts to get the attention of Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Hong Kong, they have garnered global attention.
Li Ka-shing gained the nickname of Superman because of his business prowess. With his wealth and position of owner of Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), operating the Kwai Chung cargo terminals, he is the one man who could swoop in and solve the working conditions and pay issues that have the dockworkers on strike.
With Superman not taking action, valiant support efforts have come from elsewhere for the dockworkers.
A delegation from the Maritime Union of Australia flew to Hong Kong to join the striking Kwai Tsing dockworkers.
With the working conditions, such as no toilet or washroom for crane operators working break-less 12-hour shifts talked about in our last blog, the Maritime Union of Australia calls it “akin to slave labor”.
Being in Hong Kong and working with the dockworkers in their strike efforts says a great deal about the organization and character of the members of the Maritime Union of Australia.
The Maritime Union of Australia’s Mick Doleman told Radio Australia that the union use its international influence at the negotiating table to get better conditions for the dock workers.
In Mr. Doleman’s words, and the sentiment that unions should be founded on, the mission for the Hong Kong dockworkers is “To garner decent treatment in their work place, decent wages and conditions relevant to their own economy and to be treated appropriately by their employer.”
The Australians are not the only ones wanting to see justice for the Hong Kong dockworkers.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has put together a two-day meeting in London for union leaders from around the globe to discuss what can be done for the Kwai Tsing dockworkers.
The largest British union group, Unite the Union, issued statements showing solidarity with the striking workers in Hong Kong.
Perhaps action where Unite the Union members work at Britain’s largest port, that of Felixstowe, which is owned by HIT’s mother company, Hutchison Port Holdings will help get Superman’s attention.
It seems in the absence of Superman taking action, a Justice League of unions from around the world is stepping in to help solve the inequities at the third largest port in the world.
But the real heroes in this situation are the dockworkers striking at Kwai Tsing. Continuing to stand up to gain the rights they deserve, demanding better pay and working conditions at risk to their livelihood, takes bravery.
And the strikers have been able to affect import and export activity at the port of Kwai Tsing cargo terminals in Hong Kong, costing HIT hundreds of thousands of dollars every day to make their presence felt.
This is not a case of unions which have become powerful demanding more of their employers than can be afforded. In fact, strikes in China and developing Asian nations are almost unheard of and in some cases illegal.
Yet, as the dockworkers strike, the local community supports them, students march in protest, and money and food is raised to keep the strikers going.
Hopefully, the struggle of these workers in Hong Kong will help bring rights to workers throughout China and Asia.
If the government in Hong Kong did try to shut down the strike, I think the local and international outcry would only swell to levels impossible to be quieted.
But what do you think?
Let us know your thoughts on the strike in Hong Kong, unions, or Superman and the Justice League in the comments section below.