Topic: Outsourcing of job in public and private sectors
Unions charge outsourcing used to cut wages
By Andrea Deng
Published: Mar 30 2012
Union members are calling for an end to layoffs triggered when outside contractors win contracts by undercutting tenders with low bids. In the latest labor dispute, the Hong Kong General Union of Security & Property Management Employees criticized The Link Management Ltd for ignoring problems that resulted from the transfer of contracts involving 16 new contractors, starting April 1. On Thursday, Huen Wai-han, vice-chairwoman of the union, said the body has been receiving calls from security workers since the company announced the new contracts. Some security workers got layoff notices. Others were told by new contractors that their wages would be cut. Job seniority is not being taken into account by the new contractors, the union charged, adding that senior workers are treated as new employees by the new contractors. Huen said this is a common cycle in industries that adopt outsourcing, not least in the security and cleaning trades. Companies outsource the frontline workforce to contractors, and change contractors every two to three years. Chung Man-bun, the union’s vice-chairman, said labor disputes arising from a change of contractors happen every year, even with government contractors. The major reason, union members said, is that companies usually offer bids to contractors who offer the lowest price. “This has been a long standing fight for us, we have kept dealing with individual cases. We want an improved mechanism or legislation for regulating contractors,” said Huen. In the latest case, The Link’s new contractor in Tung Chung’s shopping centers, a subsidiary of the Sino Group, won the contract with a lower bid, Huen quoted the person in charge of the new contract operation as saying. Bill Tang, an Islands District Council member who talked to security workers in Tung Chung’s shopping...
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