As published on bloomberg.com, Monday 1 June, 2020.
Hong Kong’s finance workers are seeking to organize a strike to protest against China’s plans to implement new security legislation.
The Hong Kong Financial Industry Employees General Union is seeking to garner support from 100,000 finance employees -- nearly one third of the industry’s workforce -- by June 12 to start a strike, Chairman Kwok Ka-wing said at a press briefing on Monday, without providing a date for planned action. Other measures will be considered if support is not achieved for the strike, he said.
“The HKFU strongly hopes our action can stop this evil law and protect Hong Kong as an international finance center,” Kwok said. “We hope the employers of the financial industry understand we are fighting for justice and the industry, but not against them.”
Efforts to strike have come as the national security law raised concerns over the financial hub’s basic freedoms and future autonomy. The fresh political turmoil is also reviving worries over capital flight while the authorities have argued that there haven’t been noticeable fund outflows from either the Hong Kong dollar or banking system.
The pro-democracy HKFU was set up in September and has about 500 members across banks, securities firms and insurers in the city. More members have been joining the group since the security law was announced, he said.
Financial firms in Hong Kong have found it difficult to disentangle themselves from the political tensions since last year. The city’s former Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying lambasted HSBC Holdings Plc Friday over not publicly voicing its support for the security law.