Respect trade union rights at Vitasoy Hong Kong
Over the past ten days Vitasoy International Holdings has reacted with arrogance and disdain to calls for respect of trade union rights at its Hong Kong operations.
Following the open letter submitted by the Hong Kong Vitasoy Employees Union on June 7 seeking union recognition and the right to negotiate wages, management held workplace meetings with employees in every department of its Hong Kong plant to denounce "that organization" and warn workers against involvement with the union.
In an attempt to shift the media spotlight from the working conditions behind the territory’s most popular beverage brands, the company sent a letter to the media announcing that wage increases will be granted on 17 June. But these increases will be decided solely by the company without any negotiation with the union and without resolving the problem of the disproportionate emphasis on commissions and incentives that increase workloads and drive excessive overtime. Vitasoy’s statement to the media also claimed that management is willing to communicate with employees directly and individually, implying that it will not recognize any workers’ representatives.
The company’s refusal to accept the existence of the union was further demonstrated by its reply to the union’s June 7 letter. Addressing the union president, Cheung Chi Shing, as a private individual and refusing to recognize his union position as a workers’ representative, Vitasoy management reiterated that it will deal with employees on an individual basis.
As well as winning several brand and consumer awards, the Vitasoy brand name and the company’s other brands such as VITA, San Sui and Calci-Plus, and NASOYA and AZUMAYA in North America, are highly rated in ethical and green consumer guides. Yet the company’s response this week - described by Vitasoy workers as "arrogant and insulting" - demonstrates that behind this award-winning brand is a management determined to deny workers their most basic trade union rights.
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