Hong Kong Labor Group Changes Protest Location After Police Ban
(Bloomberg) -- The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions is moving its planned Wednesday afternoon protest from near the airport to the heart of the city’s financial district after the initial location was banned by the police.
After the objection, HKCTU decided to move the location for the protest to start at Hong Kong’s Edinburgh Place in Central and then rally to Pacific Place, instead of the original plan to assemble at Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.’s office near the airport, according to a statement from the labor group on Tuesday.
HKCTU is demanding that Cathay revoke dismissals of staff after the Civil Aviation Administration of China imposed strict regulations on the airline’s flights to and over the mainland earlier this month for its workers’ participation in Hong Kong’s months’ long protests. The carrier generates about half of its revenue from operations in Hong Kong and China.
Police cited the injunction in effect at the airport and the Airport Authority expressed its objections, the South China Morning Post reported.
China’s aviation authority this month barred Cathay staff who took part in or supported the demonstrations from flying to the mainland and demanded the carrier provide a plan for improving flight safety and security. Last week, the regulator said the airline had complied with its demands. Cathay generates about half of its revenue from operations in Hong Kong and China.
Cathay and its Cathay Dragon subsidiary have seen at least seven employees leave, including its chief executive officer, since Beijing’s move. HKCTU claims that the airline dismissed its staff due to their posts and comments on their personal social media platforms, restricting workers from expressing their freedom of speech while off duty.
The airline said last week that it expects “significant impact” on its revenue from August and beyond as the protests weigh on travel demand. Both business and leisure travel into Hong Kong has “weakened substantially” and traffic from the city has started to soften, especially on short-haul routes to China and South Korea, Cathay said.
Most of Cathay’s approximately 32,800 workers are based in Hong Kong, whose airport has become a key site for the protesters. This month, demonstrators occupying key buildings prompted the airport to shut down, forcing Cathay and other airlines to cancel hundreds of flights.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.