HKCTU is dead but the citizen is not: The birth of the Hotel Employees’ Union

Part of our 'Dispatches from HKCTU' series of translations

Graphic: spf.pdf for Lausan

Original: 工盟死咗,公民未死 酒店工會的誕生, published on HKCTU’s Facebook page.

Author: The Hotel Employees’ Union

Translator: Promise Li

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and last in our series of translations of short letters and statements from members of HKCTU that were posted on their Facebook page upon the news of their disbandment on September 17, 2021 due to increasing repression and harassment from pro-Beijing media and the Hong Kong government. We share these translations here to preserve the history of the city’s progressive and independent unionism and to honor HKCTU’s decades of organizing and struggle to better the lives of Hong Kong workers.

I’m not sure if anyone recalls how, after the August 5th General Strike in 2019, workers from many different sectors began to form their own group chats on Telegram. At the time, many hotel workers founded their own groups and began sharing news and discussing how they could also organize a strike. Some people in that group wanted to meet face-to-face to discuss the logistics, but it ended up dragging on for a while before we actually met.

The Polytechnic University siege—and all the events that led up to it—activated even more workers. So by mid-late November, around twenty hotel workers in the Telegram group finally came around to formally discuss creating a union. At the time we thought it was just a group of random directionless workers who populated the Telegram channels, but we realized later that HKCTU staffers were pivotal in agitating some of us behind the scenes. In our first meeting together, we decided to affiliate with HKCTU to get things started.

In the unionization wave of 2020, CTU staffers were often doing the so-called “shitwork.” Besides helping to kickstart some of the unions, they were pivotal to a lot of the behind-the-scenes work supporting the hospital workers’ strike, the June 20th cross-sector strike. Many people don’t realize this, and we want to take this moment to thank our friends in HKCTU.

“Once there was a genuine connection placed in front of me, but I neglected to treasure it. I only realized its value when it’s lost. These are some of the most painful experiences in life!”

As we watch all parties and civil society organizations fall one by one, we sigh together in grief and send out post after post to commemorate. We might not be able to recover the affections and bonds we once had, but we can organize again even if an organization dies.

Whether it’s hotel work or other sectors, we anticipate working conditions becoming worse and worse. And when things are so bad that we can’t even fix them by changing jobs, we hope everyone will wake up. We can still band together in solidarity to raise our collective demands—just like before.

#下一次再聚 #序是一切的開始 #敍述你我與香港的故事 #職工盟 #未散 #職工盟30年 #Whenwillweback #hkctu30 #SolidarityWithHKUnions #WeLoveFreedomInHK

【工盟死咗,公民未死 酒店工會的誕生】




初頭一班工會理事乜都唔識,好多時都係靠工盟嘅成員俾方向大家,邊做邊摸索工會點運作,招會員、做文宣、記招、行政工作、物資…… 理事通常都要收工後先開始做工會事務,工盟同事長期都捱更抵夜陪理事開會,協助工會行動。






#下一次再聚 #序是一切的開始 #敍述你我與香港的故事 #職工盟 #未散 #職工盟30年 #Whenwillweback #hkctu30 #SolidarityWithHKUnions #WeLoveFreedomInHK