Workers walk out of Hong Kong’s PCCW

A worker cleans a PCCW telephone booth in January in Hong Kong, China.
Hundreds of workers from one of Hong Kong’s largest telecommunications companies stormed out of work Tuesday, chanting protests about possible job cuts.

An estimated 350 contract workers at PCCW walked off the job for a half-day and staged a protest outside the company headquarters, chanting slogans such as: “We are against pay cuts. We are against layoffs.” Organizers told CNN that PCCW hired about 2,000 to 3,000 workers from other companies and those workers have now been told they face at least a 10 percent salary cut and might lose their jobs. The company said in a written statement, “No decision has been taken to date about cutting contract rates with subcontractors. The company reviews its commercial arrangements with contractors annually and looks to achieve productivity gains and reduced rates where possible. … We commenced discussions with subcontractors last week and questioned whether a 10 percent reduction in contract rates might be possible.”

Unions are trying to negotiate a settlement, strike organizers said. It was inappropriate to make any assumptions about staff pay cuts or layoffs, because discussions are ongoing, the company said.