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Hong Kong Securities Brokers Plan Lunch-Break Protest Today

Kana Nishizawa and Marco Lui BusinessWeek 01/13/2012 02:02
Hong Kong Securities Brokers Plan Lunch-Break Protest Today - Business - Hong Kong - employment

Securities traders and restaurant staff will protest outside the Hong Kong stock exchange offices today over the bourse’s plan to reduce its lunchtime trading break.

As many as 1,000 protesters will gather at the Statue Square in the city’s central business district at 4:45 p.m. and walk to the headquarters of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. at the Exchange Square, said Patrick Lam, chairman of the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Employees Union and organizer of the demonstration.

Hong Kong Exchanges Chief Executive Officer Charles Li plans to cut the lunch break from March 5 to one hour from 90 minute, following a reduction last year from two hours, the longest of the world’s 20 largest bourses. Brokers use the lunch break to communicate with clients and improve businesses, and one hour is not enough, Lam said by telephone today. Restaurants in the city’s central district would be losing business as well, he said.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Francis Lun, managing director at Lyncean Holdings Ltd., who may join the protest. “After the morning trading, traders have to spend about 15 minutes to match all the trades, so it really gives you no time for lunch at all. I hope we can throw garbage on the head of Mr. Charles Li for not listening to public opinion.”