Business Hong Kong Politics & Protest

50 construction workers occupy Fortress Hill road in protest over unpaid wages

Around 50 construction workers occupied a road in Fortress Hill on Thursday in a protest over unpaid wages.

The group had been employed at a construction site on Oil Street, but say they were owed wages of 1.5 months – totalling around HK$3 million, according to Apple Daily. They were told they would be paid on Wednesday, but when the payment failed to materialise, they took to the intersection between Oil Street and Electric Road, blocking traffic at around 9:30am.

Around 50 construction workers have occupied a road in Fortress Hill in protest over unpaid wages.

Around 50 construction workers have occupied a road in Fortress Hill in protest over unpaid wages. Photo: Facebook/Drive Safety HK.

The Transport Department announced ten minutes later that, due to an “emergency incident”, part of the lanes of Electric Road, North Point bound between Mercury Street and Oil Street were closed to all traffic.

Traffic on Electric Road became congested, extending to Victoria Park Road. The police arrived to help negotiate terms between the building contractor and workers. By 11am, the workers left and the roads were unblocked.

Around 50 construction workers have occupied a road in Fortress Hill in protest over unpaid wages.

Around 50 construction workers have occupied a road in Fortress Hill in protest over unpaid wages. Photo: Facebook/Drive Safety HK.

Occupations

Road blocking is a common method of protest for construction workers.

  • In August 2007, hundreds of ironworkers occupied Tin Kwong Road in To Kwa Wan and rallied for more than two weeks calling for better working conditions.
  • In January 2008, more than 100 construction workers blocked Wan Po Road in Tseung Kwan O over outstanding salary payments.
  • Also in Fortress Hill in January 2009, construction workers attempted to block roads near a hotel site hoping to recover HK$5 million of unpaid wages.
  • In January 2015, 32 construction workers occupied a road in Tai Kok Tsui over HK$700,000 of unpaid wages.
  • During a dock workers strike in March 2013, roads to Hongkong International Terminals in Kwai Chung were also blocked with workers demanding negotiations with dock companies.

50 construction workers occupy Fortress Hill road in protest over unpaid wages