Published: 09/11/2010

A vigorous union mobilization against the abolition of paid meal breaks at Café de Coral has forced the company to retreat within days after the new pay policy was imposed.

On November 6, Café de Coral, “”the largest publicly listed Chinese Fast Food restaurant group in the world” with over 500 outlets in Asia/Pacific and North America and substantial food processing and catering operations, announced that it was restoring  paid meal breaks for restaurant and fast food workers. By abolishing the paid meal break while offering a token hourly increase, Café de Coral had actually imposed a pay cut on already low paid employees.

Workers have not only won back their paid meal time, but secured an overall wage increase averaging 8-10%!

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and its member Catering & Hotels Industries Employees responded to the company’s  initial announcement with a vigorous campaign of public actions; the call for a planned boycott generated widespread support. The public response was well covered in all Hong Kong media – including the intervention of the IUF, which added an international dimension to a conflict with particular resonance in the context of the pending introduction of Hong Kong’s first-ever minimum wage.