Feminist and labour movements in hk critical and co constructive
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Feminist and labour movements in HK: critical and co-constructive. Women’’s Empower, Gender Equality and Labour Rights: Transforming the Terrain. Sally Choi Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions 2013-7-30, San Paulo. About myself. outline.

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Feminist and labour movements in HK: critical and co-constructive

Women’’s Empower, Gender Equality and Labour Rights: Transforming the Terrain

Sally Choi

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

2013-7-30, San Paulo


About myself


outline

  • The story of a founder, Ms. Yim of working women association

  • Insights: Critical voices from women’s leaders and the movement

  • The recent campaign against sexual violence at workplace

  • Insights: cooperation between feminist movement and the trade union.

  • Transforming the terrains: internal and external support; individual and collective leadership


YIM YUET LIN

1989 found Hong Kong Women Workers Association (HKWWA)—1st organisation for the rights of women worker


A book project for the 15th anniversary of HKWWA

“Factory, Kitchen and Refuse Room: 15 years of Women Workers Movement in HK”


Unions development Before 1970s

  • Before the 1970s,

  • unions in HK

  • pro-Chinese Community Party (CCP) unions (the leftist),

  • pro-Kuomintang unions (the ruling party of Taiwan at the time, also known as the rightist unions)

  • some unions with a neutral background (such as the civil servants’ unions).

Yim was an electronic factory worker


Rise of social movement in 1980s

  • 1974 a church based organisation HK Christian Industrial Committee (HKCIC) started intervening labour disputes

  • 1984, HKCIC-Trade union education center

  • 1984, Association for the Advancement of Feminism (AAF) set up

  • Yim joined HKCIC and AAF study groups


Conflicts on maternity leave

Cannot unit all the workers

  • Yim left HKCIC

Not the top priority for advocacy among alliance of labour activists


1982

  • Amendment on Employment Ordinance in HK

  • 2/3 paid for 10 weeks maternity leave


Mid 1980s


HKWWA 1989--

Concerning the rights of causal workers which are majority women workers

Mother’s Day action: Caring support and subsidies for workers


Yim-Women worker leader

  • - strong fighter

  • - transforming the labour rights advocacy

  • - transforming the union movement


Women specific union/organisation

  • The reproductive role and contribution of women workers were not well recognised even among unionists in early days.

  • The base and voices of women workers’ association are small but critical.

  • gender specific labour issues and create social discourse


Self-organizing->Cooperation -> Alliance building


Women self-organised


Campaign againViolence against Women at workplace


Loophole in the Law

  • Sex Discrimination Ordinance in 1995 (SDO) prohibit sexual harassment

  • No clause in SDO to prohibit customer conduct sexual harassment against service, goods and facilities providers

  • Employees at service, retail industry are not protected by SDO !


A SURVEY ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AT WORKPLACE IN 2013

80 % female workers in catering industry encountered sexual harassment at workplace


Sexual violence issuse for DWs


Outcomes

  • - reform in legislation in 2014

  • - public attention

  • - women’s issues to social issues


Alliance Building


Women’s solidarity and capacity building

  • provides more opportunities for leadership growth and support for female unionists who committed to integrate gender equality at labour movement.

  • External supports to women unionist in federation


Factors affecting women’s situation and ongoing battle

  • Lack of working hours regulation

  • Collective bargaining


Alliance Building for the rights of part-time workers

Employment Ordinance only cover those with “continuous employment” i.e. being employed for 4 or more consecutive weeks and each week working for 18 or more hours (4-1-18). There is an ongoing campaign to amend the law so to cover part-time and causal workers.


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