Coronavirus sees 50,000 construction workers laid off in Hong Kong

By Daniel Brightmore
Hong Kong’s construction industry has been put on hold as the Coronavirus epidemic has forced contractors to lay off more than 50,000 workers. The is...

Hong Kong’s construction industry has been put on hold as the Coronavirus epidemic has forced contractors to lay off more than 50,000 workers.

The issue is the disruption to the flow of materials from mainland China caused by Beijing putting cities across China on lockdown in an attempt to try and contain the virus.

A further 80,000 workers have had their hours cut to one or two days a week as contractors wait for their supply chains to re-open, according to the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union.

The union explained to the South China Morning Post half of its 57,000 members were now unemployed.

The current estimate for unemployed workers means around a fifth of the special administrative region’s construction workers have lost their jobs.

“The construction chain intertwines with one another. If we do not have some of the materials, we cannot proceed to the next step,” Union chairman Wong Ping told the post.

“For example, some workers can nail boards first [for shuttering], but without cement pouring in as the next step, you cannot proceed to nail boarding for the other floors.”


China: Wuhan Coronavirus hospital built in just 10 days - watch

Zaha Hadid Architects Unicorn Island completes first phase in China

China excavator sales suggest construction boom

Read the latest issue of Construction Global here

Hong Kong developer, Chun Wo Construction Holdings, told the Post its building sites were still closed. Chief executive Stephen Lee Ka-lun commented: 

“Many of the materials have not been brought in from the mainland, such as concrete blocks, and the factories in China have not resumed totally… At the same time, we have to separate the workers at the sites to prevent them from getting infected by one another, and that will slow the project speed as well.”

David Kwok Chun-wai, co-managing director of New World Construction, said the firm had also suffered from supply chain disruption. He told the Post: “We are not sure about the impact yet, it’s still too early to predict any delays in finishing time.”


Featured Articles

Open ECX is transforming construction with digital solutions

Open ECX offers innovative, cloud-based e-trading solutions for the construction sector and its associated supply chain

Bechtel and CWP Global spot Africa green hydrogen potential

Partnership involving CWP Global and Bechtel to provide planning solutions for integrated configurations involving green hydrogen facilities

'Better with Bellway' sustainability strategy launched

Bellway's new sustainability strategy coincides with half-year results in which the UK homebuilder's operating profit rose 11.6% to £332.2mn

Construction of utility scale solar farms to accelerate

Construction Projects

China's longest reconstructed bridge to open early April

Construction Projects

Construction firms must focus on water neutrality