Former Huizhou SKS workers and the Hong Kong labor rights groups including Globalization Monitor (GM), Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) and Asian TNC Monintoring Network (ATNC) staged an action in front of the store of Tommy Hilfiger at Tsim Sha Tsui today.
At noon time of 30th September, together with three former SKS women workers, we labor rights groups, based in Hong Kong, were petitioning in front of the store of Tommy Hilfiger.
The organizer of the action use loudspeaker to tell the public about the background of the dispute: In early March when the workers came back to work after the lunar New Year, they found that the Hong Kong owned enterprise – Huizhou SKS Manufacturing Company Ltd, was shut down without giving any written notice for them in advance. Their boss had gone and missing leaving around one hundred workers behind without any information on severance pay and compensation for workers.
Six months has gone, until today the Hong Kong owners, Mr. Kevin Cheung and Mr. Kevin Wong, are still missing and the workers could not get in touch with either of them. In order to obtain compensation according to the law in China, workers applied for a labour arbitration and at the end of March 26, the court ordered Huizhou SKS to pay a total of 3.19 million yuan to 103 workers’ severance pay. However, the Hong Kong SKS only left five hundred thousand yuan (500,000) and the old factory facilities worth one hundred and ninety thousand yuan (190,000) for workers’ severance pay. The amount is far from sufficient to pay for all workers’ severance pay and compensation and the difference is around 2.64 million yuan.
According to information, Huizhou SKS was set up in 1988 by Hong Kong SKS and produced for high-end international brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren and MissMe and Tommy Hilfiger is the biggest buyer of Huizhou SKS and about 80%of SKS production was produced for Tommy Hilfiger. Though the Huizhou SKS was closed in March, the Hong Kong SKS office is still running their business. Therefore workers decided to come to Hong Kong to confront the SKS boss and demand Tommy Hilfiger, to take up its corporate responsibility to help workers to get back their compensation from SKS Hong Kong.
Through the loudspeaker, workers told the passers-by that many of the workers are middle age women and could only get a good and stable job after SKS was shut down. They need to support their family and children but they are in dire situation. They were very angry and disappointed to their SKS HK boss and the brands because they worked very hard for the company and the brands in the past 20 years but it ended up not one of them care if they could get back their severance pay by law.
During the petition, a Tommy Hilfiger’s sales lady said the groups and workers came to the wrong place and wanted the groups to leave immediately and she even threatened to call for the police.
Later Mr. Den Yip, the retail operations manager came to meet with us and said the petition was hurting their business and hope to minimize the damage to the brand. Mr. Yip accepted workers’ letter. He asked the groups to give him some time so that he could pass it to a relevant person at Tommy Hilfiger Hong Kong office who could handle the dispute case.
Mr. Den Yip, the retail operations manager of Tommy Hilfiger (far left)
met with the groups.
This action has been also reported by Hong Kong Free Press: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/10/01/guangdong-workers-protest-outside…