Hundreds of Hong Kong contract dockworkers entered their seventh day of strike today. The union is lobbying for a 20 percent pay raise to compensate for recent years’ pay cuts. Hutchison International Terminals, the employer, is only offering a 5 percent raise. Workers make about $90 a day, or $2,200 a month. Some workers claim that after considering inflation rates, they are being paid less than what they were ten years ago.
The strike has forced cargo ships to spend a lot of time waiting outside of the city’s port until the leftover dockworkers can unload a ship’s goods. Some ships are being forced to wait 60 hours, as opposed to the typical 3 hour wait.
The strike costs Hutchison International $644,000 per day and, if it continues, may hurt the peak export season between May and October. The strike’s impact is particularly damaging since Hong Kong is the world’s third-busiest port in the world. This port is also considered one of the most efficient. These inconveniences will likely result in decreased business if they persist for much longer, since the port already charges higher rates than most.