Hongkong International Terminals Limited (HIT) today announced that agreements had been reached with external contractors on service contracts for 2016-2017. An HIT spokesperson said that the agreement terms had taken into consideration the pay increase offered by external contractors to their workers, the business outlook, the company’s performance and the operating environment for the industry despite the challenges posed by the unsteady global economic environment.
External contractors also announced a 4% increase in basic salary for the coming year, a level that is above the expected inflation rate of 2.3% for 2016 forecast by the Hong Kong Government. Over 90% of external contractor workers had given written consent to the pay rise.
With an uncertain outlook for the global economy and international trade, the total throughput of the Hong Kong port has fallen for 21 consecutive months. Despite the falling throughput, the number of calls to the terminals remains stable. The company believes that the pay rise, along with the joint efforts of the contractors and workers, will help lay a strong foundation for the future. The company is confident that the industry will improve when the global economy recovers.
In recent years, the company has strengthened communication with external contractors and workers, and made significant improvements to the working environment and conditions. The company committed to the equipment investment plan last year, setting out various improvement measures to upgrade facilities and enhance occupational safety, which includes replacing crane cabins, stockrooms, cabin chairs and increasing the number of shower facilities, drinking dispensers and fans. HIT continues to put occupational safety and health a top priority in its daily operation. The accident rate per 1,000 workers in 2015 went down by 15% compared with 2013.
HIT believes that future challenges represent an opportunity to improve existing strengths and efficiency, while maintaining Hong Kong’s competitiveness and setting standards along the way.