New union of healthcare workers urges Hong Kong government to seal off border with China with industrial action threat

New union of healthcare workers urges Hong Kong government to seal off border with China with industrial action threat

A report by the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) says that a new union of healthcare workers in the state, called the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance (HAEA) with now over 18,000 members, have threatened to go on strike.

The union is urging the Hong Kong government to seal off the border with China with an ultimatum that its members would launch an industrial action.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus from Mainland China, Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, has ordered for the temporary suspension of the high-speed rail service, as well as the cancellation of all cross-border ferry services earlier this week.

Union members, however, find this precautionary measure insufficient.

Reuters reports that the fear expressed by a Hong Kong metro operator (MTR Corp) who claims that his colleagues are at risk of getting the virus while at work daily.

Despite agreeing with the precautionary measures undertaken by the government, HAEA insists that the entire border of Hong Kong with China should be sealed. The union is said to call for a meeting to discuss on future actions.

“In general, the HAEA agrees with the above measures, yet we must reiterate our persistence for the refusal of all entries to Hong Kong via China,” it said in a statement.

Treasurer of the HAEA, Chris Cheung, revealed that members planned to initiate a phased retaliation strike next week unless their demands are met.

So far, there has been 10 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in Hong Kong, while China has a staggering 9,692 cases recorded with a death toll amounting to 213 as of Friday (31 Jan).

Hong Kong citizens are already embroiled in a long drawn tussle with the government to make concessions for full democracy, have now found another snafu in their favor.

Together, HAEA has 40 unions in its alliance and approximately, a dozen of them are in support of the HAEA’s proposed strike.

Ms Lam, however, has called this move to seal the entire borders as “inappropriate and impractical”.

The threat of a potential strike looms high as Hong Kong citizens are joining long queues scouring shops for face masks, as supplies dwindle.

There are many reported stories regarding the purchase of face masks.

One such story relates to a waiter, Berry So, who had queued up from 2am and after waiting close to 6-7 hours, failed to get the masks. The anxiety over contracting coronavirus continues to intensify.

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