Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Multi-stakeholders Dialogue - MTR

The two rails (KCR and MTR) merger was the hottest topic last week. The hot topic this week is something else, which will be posted later. Now, the merger allows MTR to have ownership of KCR for 30 years. After that, it's another story. The government welcomes it and so do the customers - as we are expecting fares cut.
So, the Hong Kong public were well-informed on the merger by the news media. There's nothing we don't know. As shareholders of MTR, I am sure you have read the public announcement. And how about the MTR Club members? No worry! You should have received an email about the merger, just like I did. Okay...maybe some of you are asking what is MTR Club member? Well, it a membership for MTR riders or anyone who have an Octopus Card. You will be able to earn points and get free single journey ticket or get gifts like MTR Map Carpet.
Back to multi-stakeholders dialogue. As a member of the MTR Club, I received an email:

Dear XXXX,

You may have heard from the news that MTR Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government setting out the terms of a proposed merger of the operations of the MTR Corporation and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation.

We believe the proposed rail merger is a fair and balanced package that offers benefits to everyone including you, as a member of the travelling public of Hong Kong. If the proposed merger is approved, you will be the first to enjoy significant fare reductions, namely, a minimum 10% discount on adult Octopus fares for long distance journeys at or above HK$12 while medium distance travellers using adult Octopus will enjoy a minimum 5% fare reduction on journeys costing HK$8.5 to HK$11.9. Interchange arrangements will also become more convenient through the removal of interchange gates at Kowloon Tong, Mei Foo and Nam Cheong stations in phases.

To obtain more details of the proposed merger,please click
here.

MTR Corporation
It's nice that MTR considers the MTR Club members as stakeholders and informing us. It was a surprise on how far MTR is going with CSR. But how come I never received email about their CSR Report. hmm...

Monday, April 10, 2006

When Mickey goes nasty!

The news is over everywhere in Hong Kong local newspapers, making headlines.
Hong Kong Disneyland character performers say they are overworked and underpaid and want the theme park to improve their working environment, reported by SCMP.
The Disney's Staff Union say that many character performers suffered joint and muscle aches and pains due to lack of rest and poor working environment of more 12 hours a day. Also their salary, HKD 9,000, is lower than live shows performers. The character performers are asking for equitable pay.
In addition, the union is demanding the Hong Kong Labour Department to make joint and muscle aches and pains a notifiable occupational diseases under the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance.
The theme park's Vice-President of Entertainmen, Laurie Jordan, said these are few exceptional cases and are not representative of the cast in general.
Source: Dennis Eng, 'Mickey and friends call for a better work environment', SCMP 10 April 2006.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Update: Wind Farm in Sai Kung

Following my previous headlines on building a wind farm in Sai Kung on 20 February; today, the SCMP reported that CLP will assess the feasibility of the wind farm. However, the project will cost at least USD 300 million, much higher than the costs overseas experiences have shown (approximately USD 2 to 2.5 million per megawatt). The high cost is mainly due to the high piling costs in Hong Kong deep waters.
Following the news last month that Wind Prospect had approached CLP for possible participation in such a project, a CLP spokeswoman said the two companies would evaluate a proposal to erect 30 to 50 wind turbines of 3MW capacity each off the Ninepin, or Kwo Chau, Islands.
Wind power would be distributed via undersea cable to CLP's power grid serving Kowloon, the New Territories and Lantau, with potential coverage of about 73,500 families, or a population of 294,000, the CLP spokeswoman said....
The economic efficiency of wind power project varies. Turbines in Hong Kong will be estimated to work for about 20 to 22 percent of the time, compared to 40 percent on average in Tasmania, a leading consumer of wind and hydro energy.
Hong Kong's deep waters mean high piling costs, while support vessels would be needed to transport maintenance staff to the turbines, the engineer said.
Source: Denise Tsang and Cheung Chi-Fai, 'CLP to assess feasibility of wind farm', SCMP 24 March 2006.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

People's: Putting staff at risk, fined

The mobile phone network provider, People's, has been fined HKD 2,000 for poorly positioning workers' computer keyboards and monitors, which could cause repetitive strain injuries.

The SCMP reported today, People's was prosecuted under the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance - the first time such a penalty has been imposed in Hong Kong. The government explained that People's was penalised after inspectors found the staff's workstations were unappropriate and have lots of room for improvement.

People's was not available for comment.

Last year, the Hong Kong Labour Department made 409 office-safety inspections, resulting in it issuing 144 warning letters and 24 notices telling employers to improve their work environments.

Source: "In legal first, firm fined $2,000 for exposing staff to risk of RSI", SCMP 5 March 2006.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Wind Farm in Sai Kung

A UK renewable energy company is planning to build Hong Kong's first commercial wind farm off Sai Kung.

Reported today in SCMP, the company, Wind Prospect (Hong Kong), plans to build 50 massive wind turbines on the Ninepin islands, Kwo Chau Kwan To. The turbines can produce 4MW electricity each and will serve Tseung Kwan O area.

The company hopes to cooperate with CLP in the project. CLP has confirmed that Wind Prospect has approached them for possible cooperation.

Source: Dennis Tsang, "UK firms plans wind farm off Sai Kung," SCMP 20 February 2006.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

CLP's Valentine Day's Present

This afternoon, "Greenpeace presents CLP with withering flowers as products of air pollution" for Valentine Day. The protest is to call on CLP to end its reliance of coal power generation.

Greenpeace members protested outside CLP's head office in Kowloon. The organisation blames CLP for continuing use of coal to generate electricity and deteriorating the health of Hong Kong people. They hope CLP will not further delay plans for implementing renewable energy.

See news here.

Source: Greenpeace 2006, 'Greenpeace presents CLP with withering flowers as products of air pollution' Greenpeace 14 February.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Park 'n' Shop outsourcing fresh food counters - layoff workers

One of the two largest supermarket chain, Park n Shop, laid off more workers yesterday as part of an outsourcing scheme for its fresh-food counter.

Some laid off workers may be transferred to other parts of the supermarket or be hired by the suppliers. However, trade union worries that workers who will be hire by the suppliers will face less wages, longer working hours, less job security and less benefits.

See here for more.