A veteran unionist on Monday described the government’s warning that it may deregister trade unions on national security grounds as "scary", and said such a move would further stifle civil society.
The head of the Confederation of Trade Unions, Mung Siu-tat, told an RTHK programme that the government has tightened its grip on teachers and journalists, and now it is doing the same to “unions with opposition voices”.
His comments come after Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong wrote on his blog on Sunday that the Labour Department will formulate measures to improve trade union members' understanding of national security issues, as well as to supervise their work.
"If individually registered unions are suspected of violating the Trade Unions Ordinance, the registrar will follow up, and depending on the results, it could cancel the union's registration," Law wrote.
Mung said it gives “almost unfettered power to the head of the Registry of Trade Unions”.
“I don’t think anything we did had been a threat to national security, because we were fulfilling a union’s duty and its role. Fighting for democracy and supporting social justice is what we should do as well,” he said.
“But the problem is they are not looking at whether you have violated national security, but using the Trade Unions Ordinance to perform political missions on the grounds of national security. That’s why it is scary,” he added.