CTU becomes latest Hong Kong group to disband

The Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) announced on Sunday evening that its members had voted to disband the group, putting the decision down to political pressure.

Fifty-seven voted in favour of dissolving the umbrella union, eight voted against, and there were two abstentions, the group said.

At a press briefing, the CTU refused to say where the “political pressure” it cited had come from, saying this was already clear enough to people and didn’t need to be stated.

“We all feel that it is politically uncertain to continue to run the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. We have no further elaboration on that. But in the meeting, all our affiliates understood the situation and made the hard decision. Of course, it is a heartbreaking decision,” said CTU vice chairman Leo Tang.

“Even though the confederation has decided to disband, the spirit and the history of the independent labour movement in Hong Kong for 31 years cannot be destroyed and our affiliates and our organisers will carry on the spirit of the confederation in the future,” he added.

Last month, CTU leaders told the media that they had been left “terrified” after receiving messages warning them their personal safety could be at risk if the group was not dissolved, and its chief executive, Mung Siu-tat, announced he had resigned and “urgently” fled Hong Kong.

Ahead of Sunday’s announcement, the Citybus Limited Employees Union, which is under the confederation, said it would continue operating, even though it would be saddled with more administrative work without the CTU’s assistance.

Another affiliate, the Government Employees Solidarity Union, expressed concerns that it would be harder to fight for workers’ rights without the umbrella alliance, noting that the confederation has been providing it with support and advice on various issues.

The CTU, which was founded in 1990, was said to represent more than 80 affiliates from various sectors.

It has been one of the government’s largest employee training course service providers, but staff at the training centres will be let go in the next couple of months, the group said.

Various Hong Kong groups have dissolved in recent months, including the Professional Teachers’ Union, the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, and the Civil Human Rights Front.

Commenting on the CTU’s decision, a Security Bureau spokesman said any organisation and its members remained criminally liable for any offences they had committed – even if they disbanded.

“The police will continue to spare no efforts in pursuing the legal liabilities of any organisation and person suspected of violating the Hong Kong National Security Law or other laws of Hong Kong,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said police would investigate local groups “which have received donations from foreign political organisations”.
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Last updated: 2021-10-03 HKT 23:55