A Brief History of Hong Kong & Kowloon Restaurant and Cafe Workers General Union

(2) When the war ended in 1945, Hong Kong became free of Japanese rule, the union members returned to Hong Kong to revive the restaurant business. As the old address at Central was sold, the main office had to move. A space on 4th floor, 15 Queen Victoria Street was rented and became the new main office. It was at that time that more than forty resurrecting committee members unilaterally agreed on the formation of the "System of Four Union Affairs" and appointed Chi Sum, Lau Yin, Ko Yau, Chu Chou etc. as leaders responsible for supervising the "Union Affairs." Nevertheless, during early post-war periods, Hong Kong's economy was unable to recover immediately. It was a hard time for the workers because their basic salary was very low. They had to depend on other means such as tips to earn money in order to make a living.

In response to this problem, the resurrecting committee members elected eight people who were Lau Yum, Lau Yin, Ko Yau, Chu Chou, Wong Can, Chi Sum, Tse Shiu Gai, Kwan Hei, to form a committee responsible for improving the fringe benefits of the workers. Lau Yum was elected as the chairman of the committee and Lau Yin was elected as the vice chairman. They engaged in collective bargaining with the management of the restaurants and proposed the restaurants to pay commission to the workers. The focus of the negotiation was how the commission should be calculated. Both parties came to agree that for every $105 earned, $5 would be divided among workers as commissions. The success in this collective bargaining marked the turning point for the union and it also greatly improved the living conditions of all workers in the restaurant business.

In 1947, the union revised its constitution and set up a management and supervisory council. The first president of the council was Lau Yum and the vice president was Lau Yin. In the following year, Lau Yum was invited by Chan Hei, the president of the Guangzhou Restaurant and Cafm Union, to attend their anniversary banquet. The president of the Macau Restaurant and Cafm Union, Shum Ling, also attended the banquet. This was a rare occasion for the union leaders of Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau to gather together and they agreed to form a "Union League of Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau" which became a platform for respective members to discuss business cooperation and employment agreements.

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