Strike guidelines for employees
**Credit to HKCTU
Q: How should an employee notify the employer?
A: Employees should formally submit a strike application to the supervisor in writing. The content should indicate that the strike will be on 5 August based on the reasons for the opposition to the Extradition Bill amendment. Participating employees should contact and invite colleagues to join in and initiate a joint notice.
Q: What is the difference between a political strike and ordinary strike?
A: In normal circumstances, strikes are caused by labour disputes. The object of the struggle is the employer and the purpose is to impair production to achieve the demands of the workers. However, the nature of the 5 August strike is completely different. The target is neither any employer nor management. It is a “political strike” that attempts to attain social justice and political demands. Employees can explain to the employers that they should refrain from being over-sensitive and hostile toward the "strike". When social environment and the rule of law are damaged, it will also have an adverse impact on the business environment.
Q: What legislation is in place to protect employees participating in strikes?
A: According to the Employment Ordinance, participation in strike cannot be regarded as a serious misconduct by the employer and may not terminate employment without notice or payment in lieu. The employee's employment period cannot be deemed as interrupted when participating in strike. However, we must also understand that the above protections are very limited and cannot rule out other discriminations from employers.
Q: If employees are unfairly treated for participating in the strike, what can they do?
A: Since the protections from current legislation are insufficient, employees need to protect themselves from collective actions to avoid unfair treatment. Although the nature of many successful strikes in the past, such as the bar-bender strike, the dockers strike or the Hoi Lai Estate cleaners strike is quite different from this time, the success of these strikes were not based upon legal protections, but by collective strength. The Extradition Bill amendment has already provoked enormous impact throughout the society, we must help each other in solidarity and unite employees from different industries, and support employees who receive unfair treatment.
Q: If an employee joins a trade union, is there a difference in the protection of participation in strike?
A: According to the Employment Ordinance, employees in Hong Kong have the right to become members and participate in trade union activities. Employers cannot discriminate or obstruct, otherwise it is a criminal offence. However, this protection only applies to employees participating in trade union activities at "appropriate time". The term "appropriate time" refers to employees participating in trade union activities under "outside working hours" or "with employer consent during working hours". Strike is definitely a trade union activity that can only be carried out during working hours, reflecting the fact that there is a lack of protection for strike in current legislation.
However, the HKCTU will mobilize all our affiliated trade unions to propose to employers to accommodate to the employees’ demand to strike and agree to safeguards to not discriminate against the participants. If you have a relevant independent trade union in your workplace, you can contact these unions and seek support. Even if there is no trade union, in case you encounter any trouble or problem, you can contact the HKCTU hotline at 27708668 for support.