Striking hospital workers demanding a complete border shutdown in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak swarmed the offices of the Hospital Authority today, threatening to extend their strike for another five days unless management agrees to meet with them.
Hospital Authority Employees Alliance chair Winnie Yu said that as of 2pm, more than 1,400 members have voted to continue the strike action until Wednesday, February 12.
This week’s strike was meant to last five days, ending today, but Yu said that the union will only continue the strike action if 6,000 of its 20,000 members vote to do so. HAEA vice chair Ivan Law says members must cast their vote before 4pm today.
Strike workers have reached 5th floor of Hospital Authority's HQ where top management offices are situated. "Close border to save Hong Kong. Medical workers on strike," they chant. Winnie Yu, strike's leader, fight back tears to say staff have been under immense pressure pic.twitter.com/2QS3zwfO0x
— Chris Lau (@hkchrislau) February 7, 2020
Meanwhile, hundreds of striking hospital workers gathered in the lobby of the HA headquarters on Argyle Street in Mong Kok this morning on the last day of the five-day strike.
According to HK01, at about 12:45pm, the union started demanding an open meeting with HA senior management, including HA chief executive Tony Ko.
But according to on.cc, lifts inside the building were locked down, prompting accusations from the workers that the executives were “hiding in their offices.”
Some of the striking workers still managed to make their way to the fourth and fifth floors — where the senior management offices are — and remained camped there as of 2:30pm.
Scores of others remain in the headquarters’ lobby.
The union organising the #HongKong medics strike, #HAEA, has given the Hospital Authority an ultimatum, saying they’ll flood the offices upstairs if there’s no reply from them in 15 mins. Lifts are locked but the unionists say they will take the stairs. Reporting by @violetwongst pic.twitter.com/pJP3NSX239
— Damon Pang (@damon_pang) February 7, 2020
The strikers are urging the authorities to provide more protective gear for frontline medical staff, and to fully close the borders with China order to halt the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
On Monday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that only three border control points will remain open, and on Wednesday she announced that all travelers entering the SAR from the mainland must be put into a 14-day quarantine, but HAEA has dismissed those measures as insufficient.