Regina Ip hears views from the labour and trade union sectors
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Chief Executive candidate Mrs. Regina Ip Lau Suk-Yee, discussed major labour and trade union issues, including abolishing the MPF offsetting mechanism, standardizing working hours, resuming certain levels of labour importation, and retirement protection at a meeting with the Federation of Trade Unions on December 30.

During the meeting, Mrs. Ip said that if elected Chief Executive, she would propose that the government make a one-off injection payment to the affected employees, as reimbursement to the portion of lost employees’ benefit accrued before December 2000. This arrangement would compensate the financial losses suffered by the employees, as well as reducing the financial burden on small-to-medium enterprises. In the long run, the government should reform the MPF system, such as consolidating the funds under the MPF system in a step-by-step manner, towards the ultimate goal of a Central Provident Fund. The government should also make contributions to provide better retirement protection to the working poor. Although HKFTU adopts an open attitude on the proposal to abolish the MPF offsetting mechanism, both parties agreed on the principle to use the financial surplus effectively to resolve the deep-rooted conflicts in the society.

The meeting was attended by HKFTU Chairman, Mr. Ng Chau-Pei, Vice-President cum General Secretary Mr. Wong Kwok, and Vice Chairman Mr. Tong Kang Yiu. Mrs. Ip was supported at the meeting by her campaign team members Election Agent Mr. Tsang Heung Kwan, Vice Campaign Manager (External) Mr. Alex Wong, Vice Campaign Manager (Internal) Ms. Gigi Wong, Chief Liaison Officer (External) Mr. David Wong and Chief Policy Officer Ms. Jen Lau.


Working hours


Mrs. Ip told the FTU that, “Amongst the cohort of grass root workers, I sympathise with those bearing low skills, low income but with long working hours, particularly those who haves no control over their working hours. Therefore, the discussion over regulation of working hours should be done through reaching a consensus between labour, capital and government, as opposed to uniformly imposing standardised working hours. I also agree that protecting the employment prospects of local employees is of utmost importance when considering the importation of labour.”


Holidays


During the meeting, both parties agreed that the government needs to proactively play the facilitator role on controversial matters, such as legislating to combined labour holidays with public holidays as statutory holidays, and, introducing paternity leave. The government sould strike a better balance in discussions to avoid any direct conflicts between the employees and the employers. This would allow the employment protection policies to be introduced more smoothly. Apart from being the facilitator, the government should also act as a better leader to improve governance, maintain the stability and morale of civil servants and to improve the quality of service as a whole.


CE should safeguard interests of those in needs


Mrs. Ip added that she very much agreed that the Chief Executive should safeguard the interest of those who are most in need and take care of the interest of the general public. “I am delighted the meeting with HKFTU provided a forum for constructive discussions. I hope my direct electoral experience will bring new thinking into the government, making real improvement in people’s livelihood,” she said.

Mrs. Ip will continue reaching out to different parties and organizations proactively to gain their support through promoting her convictions and election platform.



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