Members of the Construction and General Site Workers’ Union (CSGWU) in Hong Kong have joined protests on Sunday 14 October against a Government plan to build several artificial islands to ease Hong Kong’s overcrowding problem. The 1700-hectare area to the east of Lantau is touted to be large enough to house 1.1 million people, however, critics are concerned that the projects have more to do with lining the pockets of political and business elites than creating decent work.
“These white elephant projects will exhaust our tax dollars and the reclamation work involve will create few jobs for years to come”, said Bro Pat Kan Chan, Chairperson of CSWGU. “The East Lantau Metropolis Project is Carrie Lam’s pork barrel for her business and developer friends. Construction workers need jobs with justice!”
The march reached around 5,800 and included concerns from workers, environmentalists and those concerned with the future direction of the small island metropolis. Hong Kong is home to tens of thousands of migrant workers and has a booming construction industry, however, fears about overcrowding are somewhat overblown, considering population growth is likely to peak soon and real estate developers are still holding on to useable land.
The project is currently scheduled to cost around half a trillion Hong Kong dollars (US$64 billion), making it the most expensive development in the country’s history. However, some are projecting cost blow-outs to around double that figure.