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Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor and UNISON co-hosted a solidarity reception to stand with Hong Kong’s independent trade union movement last Thursday (5th October).

Catherine West MP, Shadow Foreign Minister (Asia & the Pacific) of the Labour Party, Paul Nowak, General Secretary of the TUC and Liz Wheatley, International Affairs Chair of UNISON, attended the event. They called for trade union solidarity and pledged steadfast support for the Hong Kong independent trade union movement.

Catherine West MP, Shadow Foreign Minister (Asia & the Pacific) of the Labour Party, expressed concern that fundamental rights have been weakened in Hong Kong and pushed aside. She said the human rights standards that used to differentiate Hong Kong and the mainland China “is becoming less and less clear”. The Labour Party deplored the detention and harassment of many trade union leaders and the pressure placed on their families. She also pointed out that following the incident in Manchester outside the Consul General last year, the Labour Party has asked the parliament three times to establish a safety protocol to protect the Hong Kong diaspora community and will keep bringing it up with the Home Secretary in the UK.

(The labour movement) is what we have as our basis; as parliamentarians, our voices will not and cannot stop at borders. So today and every day, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Hong Kong trade unionists and a wider Hong Kong community and we said in one voice.

Catherine West, Labour MP

Paul Nowak, General Secretary of the TUC, said nobody should be imprisoned for standing up and carrying out basic Trade union activities for speaking for workers.

We send our support to those who are still struggling fighting the fight for justice in Hong Kong and to join you in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of every trade unionist being held in jail for standing up for democracy, for human rights, and for trade unions.

Paul Nowak, General Secretary of TUC

“However hard the road ahead might be we’ve got to stick together. The Chinese government can continue to undermine independent trade unions. It can take away the legal right to organise and represent workers. It can try and interfere in this country to try and stop us offering solidarity, but it will never break the resolve I know of Christopher and his comrades and our Trade union movement to stand alongside comrades in Hong Kong. So, the fight goes on. The TUC will stand with you, with every labour rights activist, every trade rep. We know when we stand together, when we fight together, Campaign together, that’s when we win together, so solidarity everybody.” Paul Nowak said.

Christoper Mung, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor, said the event had special meaning: “Two days ago was the second anniversary of HKCTU disbandment. With this reception, I want to tell them that after two years of suppression, we are still here. We are still here in our struggle for freedom and democracy.”

Christopher Mung recalled that the UNISON was the first trade union he visited in the UK when he went into exile two years ago. In the past one and a half years, he brought the Hong Kong labour rights issues to trade union conferences in Italy, France, Canada, and Australia. He said the HKLRM has also submitted reports to the Union Nations and other international organisations on the suppression Hong Kong labour movements faced in the city. And HKLRM will continue to call for international attention to keep an eye on the human rights condition and independent trade movement in Hong Kong.