Workers and students to go to polls on city-wide strike action against Beijing’s national security law today

The first-ever referendum will determine whether the city is ready to go on strike in opposition to the national security law that could undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. 

Photo: General Strike Referendum press conference, 19 June, courtesy of Cyril Ma.

Hong Kong on Strike, a labour coalition comprising of 30 trade unions, along with Secondary School Student Preparatory Platform for Action, will host the city’s pioneering referendum today, setting up a general strike over Beijiing’s controversial national security legislation. 

Vic Tse, the chairperson of Hong Kong Public Relations and Communications Union, said the members of the participating trade unions will vote on three motions including issues regarding the national security law, the strike, and other labour problems. 

The strike would be possible on the condition that 60,000 workers join the poll and 60 percent of them in favour. Meanwhile, 80 percent of the trade unions will have to reach their individual goals of positive votes. Tse said the threshold set at 60,000 is to protect voters from retribution when more people take part in the referendum. 

The coalition has so far recruited around 14,000 members. 

General Strike Referendum press conference, 19 June. Photo courtesy of Cyril Ma.

“We are confident with the goal [60,000 voters] because Hong Kong people have never disappointed us over the past year”, said Tse. She calls employees to come out to vote as different industries may face sanctions followed by the implementation of the law. 

Michael Ngan of Union for New Civil Servants said, “Civil servants share the same rights as Hong Kong residents, and it is also their responsibility to express concern over such influential legislation.” 

The Union will have a separate set of motions that exclude anti-national security wording. Instead, it will ask about the possible impacts on the sector’s interests and vision by the law. 

There will be ten polling places across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon for non-members to walk in from 10AM to 8PM. Members who have received a six-digit code can join the poll at the 13 district councillor offices. Electronic and paper ballots are accepted. 

Simultaneously, secondary school students can vote in five polling stations; the Platform would provoke the strike if they obtain at least 10,000 votes with no less than 5,000 actual ballots cast in the stations and 60 percent of the total votes are in support.

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Sara is a journalism student at Hong Kong Baptist University. Her one-year exchange journey at Emerson College in the United States and high school experience at UWC Robert Bosch College in Germany have cultivated her interests in politics and social injustices.

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