2012相關傳媒報導

Hong Kong hotels accused of not paying minimum wage in job ‘trial periods’ [South China Morning Post] 2012-08-15
政府對檢討《僱傭條例》中連續性僱傭的態度 [關注零散工權益行動電子報] 2012-04-10

South China Morning Post | 2013-08-15 報章

Hong Kong hotels accused of not paying minimum wage in job ‘trial periods’

Union says survey shows bosses are forcing room cleaners to work for ‘trial periods’ for low pay

Hotel bosses are dodging the minimum-wage law by forcing room cleaners to work for “trial periods” for low pay rates and without overtime compensation, according to a union survey.

The Catering and Hotels Industries Employees’ General Union found after interviewing 246 room attendants from about 30 hotels in June that 25 workers were receiving less than the statutory minimum wage of HK$28 an hour.

Some said they were exploited under a work “trial period” in the first two to three weeks of a new job, often earning as little as HK$5 an hour. Hotels were also accused of practices which cheated employees of their benefits.

“We don’t think this problem is restricted to individual hotels – it’s industry-wide,” said the union’s organising secretary Suzanne Wu Sui-shan.

She said some workers who experienced these practices worked for large hotel chains, which they did not name to protect other employees.

The union found that one of the hotels, owned by a tycoon, kept employing workers on a trial basis and did not offer them permanent jobs.

“It’s not that they cannot afford to pay, they are explicitly exploiting workers,” Wu said. She said the problem had been around for a long time, but after implementation of the minimum-wage legislation in May last year, these employers could now be breaking the law.

She urged them to stop the practice.

Under the Employment Ordinance, employers could dismiss workers without notice during a probation period, but this did not entitle them to use a work “trial period” for pay, Wu said.

In one case, a worker undergoing a work “trial period” worked eight hours a day, cleaning up to 17 rooms, and was paid HK$56.

Other room attendants earning less than the minimum wage were usually paid according to the number of rooms they cleaned.

They were assigned a certain number of rooms each day and if it took them longer than eight hours they had to work overtime without compensation.

The survey found that 70 per cent of those interviewed were casual workers who did not have benefits such as medical insurance. More than half said some workers in their hotels were hired on a three weeks on, one week off basis so employers did not have to give them benefits such as paid annual leave.

Employees working for four consecutive weeks for not less than 18 hours are entitled to these benefits.

Wu said that most of the workers were not willing to complain to the Labour Department as they were afraid they would be recognised and unable to find work in the industry again.

Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners executive director Michael Li Hon-shing said a survey the federation conducted among its members last year showed that all hotel employers were meeting minimum wage requirements.


關注零散工權益行動電子報 | 2012-04-12 報章

政府對檢討《僱傭條例》中連續性僱傭的態度

[蘇耀昌]

政府在施政報告中提及對零散就業工的關注(政府並未使用此字眼) ,可追溯至五年前。在2007-2008名為「香港新方向」的施政報告,是第三屆特首為特區政府制定未來五年工作的藍圖,在《施政綱領》第三章「關懷社會 投資社會」的「新措施」欄目下,首次用了27字寫道:(政府將) 因應勞工市場近期的發展,檢討在《僱傭條例》下連續性僱傭的定義。」

然而對於何謂「勞工市場近期的發展」,政府未有說明。我們相信,政府既將檢討在《僱傭條例》下連續性僱傭的定義列入《施政綱領》內,反映就業零散化已達到必須處理的地步,故把檢討《僱傭條例》下連續性僱傭定義放在「新措施」欄目下。

一些學者曾以「邊緣勞工」來稱呼零散工。2000年的一份研究指出:香港「邊緣勞工」在回歸前一年是45萬(1996年),到1999年上升至64萬,反映經濟衰退並非「邊緣勞工」增加的主要原因。1996-97香港經濟仍有增長,「邊緣勞工」反上昇45%,指出就業零散化趨勢的主要原因是因為企業改變僱傭模式以增加利潤。

有關「邊緣勞工」成份,以1999年為例, 64萬「邊緣勞工」佔總勞動人口的18.5%,當中超過一半是婦女(56%)。學者將「邊緣勞工」再劃分為「貧窮勞工」(月入少於4500元,約佔整體「邊緣勞工」的50%)、「失業工人」(約佔整體「邊緣勞工」的34%)及「就業不足工人」(約佔整體「邊緣勞工」的16%)。而在「貧窮勞工」中,則有21.6%月收入在3,000元以下[1]。

然而,政府雖在施政報告首次提出對就業零散化的關注,遲遲未有行動。一年後,在名為「迎接新挑戰」的2008-2009施政報告中,特首在「持續推行的措施」欄目下(注意已由「新措施」改為「持續推行的措施」),用39字重覆上年的話:「因應勞工市場近期的發展,繼續檢討在《僱傭條例》下連續性僱傭的定義,並在過程中諮詢持份者。」

政府較上年多提一個訊息,就是會在檢討過程中「諮詢持份者」。但將會怎做,並未交待。接著一年過去,政府似乎並未啓動檢討或作出任何諮詢。

2009-2010名為「群策創新天」的施政報告作出了一少步突破,《施政綱領》用了46字形容政府將:「蒐集並非以『連續性合約』受僱的僱員的統計數據,以便檢討《僱傭條例》中連續性僱傭的定義,並繼續諮詢有關各方。」反映政府即將開展「蒐集統計數據」的步驟。

街坊工友服務處亦於此時開展「保障零散工人基本權益倡議計劃」,準備回應政府可能推出的檢討。

然而,「蒐集統計數據」過程十分緩慢,估計政府正忙最低工資立法工作。故2010-2011名為「民心我心 同舟共濟 繁榮共享」的施政報告,又回復老調重彈。《施政綱領》用了54字重覆:「根據收集所得有關並非以連續性合約受僱的僱員的統計數據,檢討《僱傭條例》中連續性僱傭的定義,並在過程中繼續諮詢有關各方。」並未提出更多訊息。

到去年,在名為「繼往開來」的2011-2012施政政報告中,有一點值得注意。《施政綱領》用了57字表示:「參考收集所得有關按短期或短工時僱傭合約受僱的僱員的統計數據,檢討《僱傭條例》中連續性僱傭的定義,並在過程中繼續諮詢有關各方。」雖看似又一次老調重彈,但以「短期或短工時僱傭合約受僱的僱員」取代了「(非)連續性僱傭」一詞,反映政府已將「非連續性僱傭」進一步界定為「短期或短工時僱傭合約受僱的僱員」。而由勞工處委託統計處進行研究的有關「受僱於短期或短工時僱傭合約受僱的僱員」的《第五十五號專題報告書》亦於2011年7月出版(詳下),反映「蒐集統計數據」經已初步完成,往後將是檢討及諮詢的開始(詳下) 。

「短期或短工時僱傭合約受僱的僱員」的新界定,原則上可為不足4.1.18工人的納入《僱傭條例》提供了理據(不再是負面的「不符合連續性僱傭的僱員」),然而特首曾蔭權任期在2012年7月1日前便告屆滿,儘管檢討《僱傭條例》中連續性僱傭的定義的程序亦告開始,但新任特首會否履行曾蔭權在五年前的承諾尚是未知數。這便有賴民間團體能否有力地向政府施壓,以完成整個檢討及修例過程。

[1] 黃洪、李劍明:《香港「邊緣勞工」研究之一》,樂施會,2000年7月。

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