Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
|Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions|
|General Secretary||Lee Cheuk-yan|
|Headquarters||19/F, Wing Wong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
|Regional affiliation||Pan-democracy camp|
|Politics of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU; Chinese: 香港職工會聯盟; pinyin: Xiānggǎng Zhígōnghuì Liánméng) is a pro-democracy labour and political group in the Hong Kong. It was established in 1990. It has 160,000 members in 61 affiliates (mainly trade unions in various sectors). and is active in the political arena in Hong Kong, and has representation in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) to challenge government policies and push for legal protection of worker and trade union rights. It is one of the two most influential labour groups in Hong Kong. (The other is the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions).
The principles put forward by the HKCTU are "Solidarity, Rice Bowl, Justice and Democracy". The group focuses on the rights and interests of workers, and the development of a democratic political system in Hong Kong. It calls for the right to collective bargaining and protection against dismissals for involvement in trade union activities.
Besides calling for universal suffrage of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong and LegCo, the group also supports pro-democracy movement in mainland China, including the struggle for independent trade unions. It participates in a number of human rights and labour rights networks to oppose the alleged suppression of labour movements in mainland China.
The Confederation was established in 1990 under the leadership of independent labour leader Lau Chin-shek. It was largely as a coalition of the "independent" and "politically" unaffiliated union organisations, most of which were new white-collar unions organising the civil service and professional or service employees in the public and subvented sectors, including the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union and the Hong Kong Social Workers General Union. The HKCTU has its roots in the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee (HKCIC), a church-sponsored labour organisation largely involved in the grassroots movements in the 1970s and 1980s.
The HKCTU has inherited the vanguard image and the more liberal sector in the territory's pluralistic union movement. It became a partner and an ally of the pro-democracy camp and the Democratic Party, in which Lau was the founding member. Lau Chin-shek won a seat in the 1991 LegCo direct election and Lee Cheuk-yan, the general secretary of the HKCTU, also won a seat in the 1995 LegCo election.
Days before transfer of sovereignty in 1997, with the support of the pro-democracy camp, the HKCTU successfully established statutory rights of collective bargaining of labour unions, which mandate employers to negotiate with labour unions on issues such as salaries, welfare and working hours. Under strong objections from the pro-business sector such as the Liberal Party, the laws were abolished by the Provisional Legislative Council shortly after the transfer of sovereignty.
Members of HKCTU were involved in organizing a number of local protests, including the 2003 July 1 march to oppose the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law (organized by the Civil Human Rights Front of which HKCTU is a member), and other protests to struggle for labour rights and democracy in Hong Kong and in Mainland China.
In the 1998 LegCo election, the group was represented by Lau Chin-shek (also a member of Democratic Party and The Frontier) and Lee Cheuk-yan (also a member of The Frontier) in the LegCo. Lau quit the Democratic Party before the 2000 LegCo election, had not renewed the membership of The Frontier before the 2004 election, and did not run under the HKCTU banner in the 2004 election. Lee Cheuk-yan has been member of the Legislative Council for New Territories West since 1998. In 2012 the HKCTU co-founded the Labour Party.
- Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions
- Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union
- Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union
- Union of Hong Kong Dockers
- Hong, Sek Hong Ng (2010). Labour Law in Hong Kong. Kluwer Law International. p. 227–228.