Delivery workers at a Coca-Cola factory in Sha Tin went on strike yesterday, accusing their employer of paving the way to contract out their jobs so they could be paid less.
Swire Beverages (HK) Employees General Union vice-president Ricky Chan Yiu-fai said all 450 workers joined the strike.
The city would run out of soft drink in a few days if the company did not listen to their demands, he said. “The impact will be felt across the city. Supermarkets such as ParknShop and Wellcome still have stock, but they can last only three to four days.” Chan said that two weeks ago, Swire Coca-Cola HK arranged for about 20 workers to take up a delivery route duty for which they are not paid commission. That would cause the workers’ salary to be reduced from about HK$15,000 to HK$10,000.
They feared this was just the first step of the company’s plan to contract out all workers, so they decided to go on strike, he said.
Chan also complained of the employees’ long working hours, sometimes up to 15 hours a day.
Union president Don Chan Hing-lung added that the workload had increased by 50 per cent over the past five years.
Yesterday, the union met company representatives several times, but failed to reach a consensus. Talks that began at 6pm were still going at midnight, and it was not decided whether the strike would continue today.
At press time, some 40 workers were continuing their sit-in at the site.
The union said it would meet the workers this morning to decide on their next move, Ricky Chan said.
A Swire Coca-Cola HK spokeswoman yesterday afternoon stressed that the company did not plan to contract out the workers. The company already had a contingency plan to deal with the strike, she said, but declined to elaborate on the plan.
“We will inform [our clients] about the situation. Right now, they still have stock,” she said.