Stall owners at Cheung Fat Market in Tsing Yi, Hong Kong, are on a week-long strike protesting a decision by real-estate investment trust Link REIT to outsource management of the market.
Fearing rents will rise again under new management, the stall owners have been carrying banners around the market and shouting slogans against the trust’s practices, reports Hong Kong Free Press.
They also say Link REIT did not communicate with them before making its decision.
About 90 per cent of the stall owners are involved in the protest. About six years ago, there was a similar strike when the trust raised rents.
According to Singtao Daily, the stall owners want Link REIT to abandon the outsourcing agreement and extend contracts by three years under current terms.
Meanwhile, the trust has said the new market manager will not raise rent prices, and that it will keep in contact with the store owners.
Because of the strike, some shoppers will have to buy fresh foods at a market on Tsuen Wan’s Yeung Uk Road, says the Oriental Daily, noting that Cheung Fat market already has higher prices than other markets with rents almost doubling over 10 years.
It is reported that foods in markets owned by Link REIT are 50 to 100 per cent more expensive than in neighbouring markets owner by the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department. Link REIT has been renovating its markets in recent years, leading to increased rent and food prices and putting pressure on low-income households.