5th Anniversary of 2019 Movement Witness Workers’ Solidarity

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The 2019 Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement drew millions of Hong Kongers to the streets to resist the bill’s passage. During the movement, there were at least five large-scale cross-industry strikes, followed by the formation of new labour unions across different sectors, which played a crucial role in supporting the movement.

On June 17, the Civil Human Rights Front initiated the first “Three Strikes” action, which included strikes, class boycotts, and boycotting businesses. A rally was staged at Tamar Park in Admiralty, with numerous groups participating. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) also held a gathering outside CITIC Tower, where representatives from different industry unions present. This paved the way for future large-scale cross-industry strikes. According to data, at least five major cross-industry strikes were organised during the movement. Notably, the strike on August 5 saw an estimated 350,000 individuals, including over 3,000 from the aviation sector, resulting in the cancellation of more than 250 flights that day.

The movement also gave rise to new unions across different industries. According to the Labour Department’s Trade Union Registry, in 2020 alone, 495 new unions were established, a growth rate several times higher than previous years. Among them, the “Hospital Authority Employees Alliance” was founded in 2019 and reached a peak membership of 22,000. Approximately two months after its establishment, the union called a walkout in February 2020 to demand border closures due to the pandemic. Over 9,000 healthcare workers took part in the first-ever collective strike by medical professionals in Hong Kong. However, with the implementation of the national security law and the arrest of former chairperson Winnie Yu for participating in pro-democracy primaries, the union was forced to dissolve in June 2022. Despite the apparent setbacks during the anti-extradition movement, the power of trade unions remains significant. We believe that the seeds sown in the minds of Hong Kong people five years ago will eventually bear fruit in the future.