With a weekend forecast for yet more rain, hitting the beach probably isn’t on everyone’s mind. In some cases that wouldn't even be advisable as members of the city's lifeguard service are allegedly on strike. Just last weekend 19 of the 29 lifeguards stationed at Silverstrand Beach, Hap Mun Bay Beach and Clear Water Bay Second Beach took ‘sick leave’ as part of a supposed strike against being overworked.
Frontline staff members are reportedly displeased that they've been working an extra 9.5-hours-per-week on top of their usual 61-hour schedule. A Hong Kong and Kowloon Lifeguards’ Union welfare officer said in an RTHK interview on Monday that there were 18 vacant positions, out of a total of 64, at the three aforementioned beaches as well as a further 200 in public swimming pools and other beaches, a situation which reflects the serious shortage of manpower and immense workload for current lifeguards.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department responded saying that they would follow up on any cases ‘involving abuse of sick leave’ and that the department would look into the situation and maintain communications with staff. To alleviate the problem, the spokesperson claimed that the department is hiring part-time workers and seasonal lifeguards.
Sadly, this isn’t the first alleged strike among public lifeguards. Kowloon Park Swimming Pool announced the suspension of lifesaving services until June 30 this year due to a manpower shortage. Last July at least four beaches were closed and 12 public swimming pools were partially shut due to strikes among lifeguards. Reporting by Zabrina Lo