Hong Kong: Swire Beverages workers strike over official recognition

Swire Beverages Employees General Union in Hong Kong staged a strike on October 3. Around two to three hundreds of drivers and helpers of the delivery team went on strike. This industrial action stopped the delivery schedule of more than one hundred cars and distribution of products affecting the customers of the Coca cola Company including McDonalds, Restaurants, Cafes etc. The union estimated that the Coca Cola Company lost nearly 100 million business that day.

There was a three-hour negotiation meeting initially between employer and employees but because it did not reach to any consensus, the union stayed overnight to continue the strike outside the production plant.

Mr. Chan hing-lung, who is the chairperson of the Swire Beverages (Hong Kong) Employees General Union, said that the union has been neglected by the company for many years such as refusing meeting with the union regularly, refusing to sign any agreements with the union, blocking the union general executive to join company meetings etc. The motivation of this strike was to achieve union recognition in the company. The pre-conditions for a sincere negotiation for raising the demands from the employees are to get union recognition and company's respect, otherwise, the employer will break their promise over and over again.  

As a result of further negotiations, both parties agreed to draft and sign an agreement regarding the co-operation relationship and communication between the management and the union. Upon this agreement, the union agreed to end the strike and return to work on October 4, 2013. Management and the union agreed to continue communication on the outstanding issues such as outsourcing or job arrangement of delivery team and the unfairly dismissed worker who was involved in a traffic accident.