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Hong Kong

Volume 931: debated on Monday 9 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made by the People's Republic of China concerning democratic reform and democratic participation in legislative processes in Hong Kong.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what labour laws in Hong Kong govern hours of work, rates of pay, holidays, or industrial injury compensation in respect of outwork.

Labour laws in Hong Kong governing hours of work, holidays and industrial injury compensation do not generally apply to outwork, as full-time outworkers are counted as self-employed. Where a principal outworker employs others the Employment Ordinance and the Workmen's Compensation Ordinance and, in some circumstances, the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance and subsidiary legislation, will apply. There is no legislation in Hong Kong governing rates of pay.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the average fine for child labour convictions in Hong Kong in 1974, 1975 and 1976; and how many prison sentences were imposed for this offence.

The average fines for child labour convictions in the years in question were as follows:

1974HK$289
1975HK$332
1976HK$543
The Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance does not provide for prison sentences.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the implication for the status of Hong Kong of the change of the title of the Colonial Secretary and the removal of the word colony from official travel documents.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United Kingdom-based firms operating in Hong Kong were convicted of breaking the overtime laws for women and child workers in 1974. 1975 and 1976.

I regret that the information requested is not available, since the records of convictions that are kept do not distinguish between firms based in Hong Kong and those based outside Hong Kong.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Hong Kong firms were fined in 1974, 1975 and 1976 for not securely fencing dangerous machinery.

I regret that the information is not available in the form requested since the records that are kept of fines imposed for not securing dangerous machinery do not distinguish between firms based in Hong Kong and those based outsde Hong Kong. I can, how-ever, say that the total number of firms operating in Hong Kong that were fined for this offence in the years in question was as follows:

1st April 1974–31st March 1975111
1st January—31st December 1975*232
1st January—31st December 1976530
* There was a change in statistical series from financial to calendar years in 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the establishment of the Labour Inspectorate in Hong Kong; and how many vacancies there were at December 1974, 1975 and 1976.

The establishment of the Labour Inspectorate is 141. There were 49, 54 and 64 vacancies at 31st December 1974, 1975 and 1976 respectively. There are currently 35 vacancies. It is hoped that the majority of these will be filled by the end of this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which International Labour Organisation conventions, ratified by the United Kingdom, do not fully apply in Hong Kong; and what steps are being taken to make them applicable to that colony.

The International Labour Conventions ratified by Her Majesty's Government which are potentially applicable to Hong Kong by virtue of its status as a non-metropolitan territory of the United Kingdom but which are not at present applied are as follows:

  • 3—Maternity Protection, 1919.
  • 10—Minimum Age (Agriculture), 1921.
  • 24—Sickness Insurance (Industry), 1927.
  • 25—Sickness Insurance (Agriculture), 1927.
  • 27—Marking of Weight (Packages Transported by Vessels), 1929.
  • 32—Protection Against Accidents (Dockers) (Revised), 1932.
  • 35—Old-Age Insurance (Industry, etc.), 1933.
  • 36—Old-Age Insurance (Agriculture), 1933.
  • 37—Invalidity Insurance (Industry, etc.), 1933.
  • 38—Invalidity Insurance (Agriculture), 1933.
  • 39—Survivors' Insurance (Industry, etc.), 1933.
  • 40—Survivors' Insurance (Agriculture), 1933.
  • 44—Unemployment Provision, 1934.
  • 56—Sickness Insurance (Sea), 1936.
  • 68—Food and Catering (Ships' Crews), 1946.
  • 69—Certification of Ships' Cooks, 1946.
  • 70.—Social Security (Seafarers), 1946.
  • 74—Certification of Able Seamen, 1946.
  • 77—Medical Examination of Young Persons (Industry), 1946.
  • 89—Night Work (Women) (Revised), 1948.
  • 90—Night Work of Young Persons (Industry) (Revised), 1948.
  • 94—Labour Clauses (Public Contracts), 1949.
  • 97—Migration for Employment (Revised), 1949.
  • 99—Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery (Agriculture), 1951.
  • 100—Equal Remuneration, 1951.
  • 101—Holidays with Pay (Agriculture), 1952.
  • 102—Social Security (Minimum Standards), 1952.
  • 114—Fishermen's Articles of Agreement, 1959.
  • 120—Hygiene (Commerce and Offices), 1964.
  • 122—Employment Policy, 1964.
  • 135—Workers' Representatives, 1971.
  • 140—Paid Educational Leave, 1974.
  • 141—Rural Workers' Organisations, 1975.
  • 142—Human Resources Development, 1975.
  • 144—Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards), 1976.
Conventions numbers 141, 142 and 144 were ratified by the United Kingdom on 15th February 1977 and have not yet been the subject of a declaration of application in respect of Hong Kong.The following Conventions are applied to Hong Kong with modifications:

  • 2—Unemployment, 1919.
  • 14—Weekly Rest (Industry), 1921.
  • 17—Workmen's Compensation (Accidents), 1925.
  • 42—Workmen's Compensation (Occupational Diseases) (Revised), 1934.
  • 58—Minimum Age (Sea) (Revised), 1936.
  • 59—Minimum Age (Industry) (Revised), 1937.
  • 63—Statistics of Wages and Hours of Work, 1938.
  • 82—Social Policy (Non-Metropolitan Territories), 1947.
  • 86—Contracts of Employment (Indigenous Workers), 1947.
  • 87—Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948.

1974

1975

1976

Factory fires385399506
Loss of life3710
Number of firms prosecuted397461877
Fines (Total) Hong Kong dollars333,555368,3401,054,980

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the number of industrial accidents in factories in Hong Kong in 1974, 1975 and 1976; how many persons under

197419751976
Number of workers injured in industrial accidents15,68417,39422,825
Number of workers under the age of 14 injured in industrial accidents. (No separate record is kept of the number of workers under the age of 15 so injured.)3710
Industries having larger numbers of accidents:
Textiles3,8184,2145,565
Garments2,1982,8524,206
Metal products2,3942,5783,612
Transport equipment1,6221,4801,709
Plastic products1,0871,1251,423

  • 92—Accommodation of Crews (Revised), 1949.
  • 95—Protection of Wages, 1949.

Conventions numbers 3, 27, 77, 89, 90, 14, 58 and 59 have not been separately ratified by the United Kingdom but may be applied to non-metropolitan territories by virtue of Convention No. 83 Labour Standards (Non-Metropolitan Territories) 1947.

Her Majesty's Government and the Hong Kong Government keep the position regarding the application of International Labour Conventions in Hong Kong under active review. Completion of the Hong Kong Government's current legislative programme would make it possible for some Conventions at present applied with modifications to be applied in full and for other Conventions which are not yet applied to be applied with modifications. The Hong Kong Government are also currently examining further Conventions with a view to making improvements in subsequent legislative programmes.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many factory fires occurred in Hong Kong in 1974, 1975 and 1976; what loss of life resulted; how many firms were prosecuted for inadequate fire precautions in this period; and what fines or other penalties were imposed by the courts.

The information requested is as follows:the age of 15 years were involved; and which were the main industries in which these accidents occurred.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United Kingdom-based firms operating in Hong Kong were convicted of labour offences in Hong Kong in 1974. 1975 and 1976.

I regret that the information requested is not available. The records of convictions that are kept do not distinguish between firms based in Hong Kong and those based outside Hong Kong.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many children in Hong Kong aged 13 years or under were admitted to hospitals in 1975 and 1976 as a result of industrial injuries.

Two children aged 13 and under were admitted to hospital as a result of industrial accidents in 1975 and in 1976.