Hong Kong : Strive for the five major demands, calling for workers strike on 5 August

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, by HKCTU

In the past two months, the Hong Kong people have expressed their views on the Mutual Legal Assistance against Law on Offenders and Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill 2019 (hereafter: extradition bill) in a number of rallies and demonstrations, including the ones on June 9 and June 16.
The number of participants in the day reached 1.03 million and 2 million respectively, which is unprecedented not only in Hong Kong, but also in the world.

However, Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, continues to disregard public demands and refuses to announce the permanent withdrawal of the evil bill, while the government turns a blind eye to the five demands of the people, but to send police forces to violently suppress the demonstrations.
The arrogant attitude of the HKSAR Government and the violent suppression of the police have further aroused public anger, which resulted in persistent protests and demonstrations.

On the evening of 21 July, a group of thugs wearing white shirts, allegedly with triad background, perpetrated indiscriminate assaults on ordinary citizens with weapons such as rattan sticks and wooden clubs. As seen from various video clips, these rioters rushed into the subway station and trains in Yuen Long and attacked the public frantically, while others struck pedestrians and vehicles on the streets.
- However, according to reports from the news media, police was not deployed in time to stop the mayhem and safeguard the safety of the public, despite emergency calls were made by the public on multiple occasions.
- On the other hand, there were news clips showing that police officers even converse with the white-shirt thugs in a friendly manner, and subsequently, no offender was apprehended at the scene.
The general public believes that this is a police-triad collaborated terrorist attacks on innocent citizens.

This kind of violence seriously challenged the bottom line of Hong Kong people and further infuriated many more.
The largely silence civil servants who seldom expressed their views on social or political events in the past, have issued joint statements in succession, and even hold assemblies to condemn violent and demand high officials of the government and police force to establish an independent commission to investigate the police brutality.

As workers, Hong Kong is the home to our careers, families, loved ones, and livelihood. We do not want to see the collapse and demise of Hong Kong. It is our responsibilities to protect this home of ours.
We saw the children of Hong Kong were brave enough to take to the streets but were brutally dealt with by the police.
We can no longer close our eyes to the situation. Hong Kong belongs to all of us and cannot be controlled and destroyed by the hands of a few.

Thus, regardless of class, profession, and occupation,

 the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) calls on all workers to respond to the city wide strike on 5 August


and demand the government to response to the five demands put forward by the Hong Kong people:

 a) Permanent withdrawal of the extradition bill;

 b) Release of arrested protesters without charges;

 c) Withdrawal of the characterization of the 12 June protest as a “riot”;

 d) Independent investigation into police violence and abuse of power;

 e) Implement full universal suffrage.

For the 5 August strike, the HKCTU made the following four appeals to all employers and employees in Hong Kong:

- 1. We appeal to employers in all walks of life to be considerate and supportive. The amendment of the Extradition Bill not only threatens Hong Kong employees and ordinary citizens, but also causes serious damage to the business environment and affects investor confidence.
Many companies and organizations spontaneously will launch strikes or make flexible work arrangements to allow their employees to participate in the fight against amendments.
The HKCTU urges employers to respond to the strike on 5 August, or to make special arrangements to allow employees to attend the assemblies in various districts.

- 2. We call on employees to participate in the various assemblies on 5 August and to proliferate the message, invite colleagues and peers from your workplace and industry to participate.
Employees can formally submit a notice to the employer or supervisor in advance to reiterate their stance in opposition to the amendment of the Extradition Bill and, for the sake of Hong Kong’s future, decide to go on strike and participate in the various 5 August assemblies.

- 3. We also appeal to trade unions from all walks of life to formally request the employer or management to allow employees to participate in the 5 August assemblies in the form of strike and agree to the safeguards proposed by the union.
We stress that this strike is a political strike, which is different in nature from the strikes caused by labour disputes.
The focus of resistance is neither employers nor managements, but to fulfill the civil responsibilities and protect the future of Hong Kong.

Therefore, we expect the employers to lay down their differences and support the demands and safeguards proposed by the unions. The various safeguards include:
- no deduction of the original benefits due to employee participation in the strike,
- no disciplinary action against employees participating in the strike,
- no discrimination against employees participating in the strike.

- 4. If any employee receives unfair treatment or discrimination as a result of participating in the strike, we urge the affected workers to contact the HKCTU and relevant affiliated trade union for assistance.
In the past, many labour struggles have shown that even if the existing legislation does not provide sufficient protection for industrial actions, employees can still resist unreasonable labour rights infringements as long as they are united and help each other in times of difficulties.
At the same time, we also urge employees who have not yet joined the trade union to join trade union as soon as possible. The employees who do not have independent trade unions in their workplaces may also consider setting up their own trade union to enhance the protection of future struggles with collective strength.

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU )

5 August, 2019