Lifeguards on strike take to water2014.09.19
HUNDREDS of lifeguards forced the closure of nine public swimming pools and left 13 beaches unmanned in a one-day strike over pay and manpower.
Protesting about a manpower shortage and the extra workload brought on in part by the large number of people from across the border using local pools, the lifeguards said the strike action will be repeated within a month if the government does not respond to their demands.
Last week’s demonstrations were on a public holiday and was the lifeguards’ second industrial action since 5 August. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (康樂文化事務署) apologised to swimmers and beachgoers, and appealed to the lifeguards to consider the public interest and return to work as soon as possible.
Hong Kong and Kowloon Lifeguards’ Union (港九拯溺員工會 ) vice chairman Alex Kwok Siu-kit (郭紹傑) said the territory needs another 1,300 lifeguards. He said they had asked to be treated fairly and not be labelled as unskilled technicians, which are paid less.
While some protesters were swimming, other lifeguards marched along the Avenue of Stars (星光大道) to the Cultural Centre (文化中心). Some swimmers complained they did not know that public pools were closed until they got there while others showed understanding for the lifeguards.
(The Standard, 10 September 2014)