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International support rolls in for workers striking for democracy in Hong Kong

2014092901355869cc2f27-0bc3-4744-b24e-f4b2b9853b451The call for a general strike in support of the democracy movement by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) – the only independent union in China – has attracted widespread international support.

The Swire Beverages (Coca-Cola) union and the HKCTU unions of  school teachers and dockers were striking on Monday after mass civil disobedience actions had come under heavy police attack. It is said that they are being joined by other member unions.

In declaring their strike, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (PTU) said:

Hong Kong police used ruthless force to expel harmless citizens, inflicting injuries on demonstrators with the use of weapons, acting as enemies of the people”

Tensions have been building in Hong Kong since the August 31 government announcement that candidates for the position of Chief Executive would have to be vetted and approved by a pro-business, pro-Beijing committee.

The protests, originally organized by the students’ federation and the Occupy Central coalition, have drawn increasing numbers of supporters. The mainland government has harshly condemned the protestors’ demands and the “illegal” protests.

On October 28, the HKCTU declared “we cannot let the students fight alone“, and called for workers to strike in support of 4 demands: the immediate release of all the arrested, an end to the suppression of peaceful assembly, replacing the “fake universal suffrage” formula with the genuine political reform workers have been demanding, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying.

The HKCTU has now won the backing of European trade unions. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) yesterday condemned the Chinese government for breaking its commitment in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration to develop democracy in Hong Kong after the handover. The Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) had also passed a resolution in 2007 agreeing that the Hong Kong Chief Executive would be elected by universal suffrage in 2017. Despite these commitments, and against the will of the people in Hong Kong, the Chinese government now plans to gerrymander the election process by imposing a politically controlled nominations committee and setting biased loyalty tests on candidates for the elections foreseen in 2017.

ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol said:

The actions of the Chinese authorities raise deep questions of trust.  They have broken a promise that the people of Hong Kong would have the opportunity to elect their Chief Executive democratically by universal suffrage.  Can we trust them to play fair in their relations with the EU? Certainly Europe must reject their demand for Market Economy Status.”

Support has also come from:

  1. AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations)
  2. ASA (Asian Students Association)
  3. BWI Asia Pacific (Building and Wood Worker’s International for Asia and Pacific)
  4. Canadian Labour Congress
  5. CFDT (French Democratic Confederation of Labour)
  6. CIAGAHCI-DIGNITE (ITUC Affiliate at Ivory Coast)
  7. Flai CGIL (The italian trade Union of Agriculture and Food sector)
  8. FTUC (The Fiji Trades Union Congress)
  9. Global Labour Institute
  10. ITUC-Asia Pacific (ITUC Regional Organisation for Asia and Pacific)
  11. IUF (International Union of Foodworkers)
  12. KCTU (Korean Confederation of Trade Unions)
  13. KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno)
  14. LIVS (Swedish Foodworkers Union)
  15. RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union, US)
  16. Toronto & York Region Labour Council
  17. UFCW (The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, US)
  18. UNIFOR (Canada’s largest union in the private sector)
  19. UNITE HERE (The hotel, food service and gaming union in the United States and Canada)

Click here to show your support by sending a message to the Hong Kong Chief Executive in support of the democratic movement and the strikers’ demands.

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