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Thousands March in Hong Kong on Labor Day for Pay, Benefits

Thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong, demanding legislation to standardize work hours, overtime pay and an annual review of statutory minimum wage.

About 3,100 people participated in the Labor Day march from Victoria Park to the government office in Central today, organized by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Mung Siu-tat, a coordinator of the event, said in a phone interview.

The march took place on the day when the city’s statutory minimum wage of HK$28 ($3.60) an hour took effect. Employees, including casual and part-time workers are covered by the act, except live-in domestic workers, students on internships and on work-experience arrangement, according to a statement posted on the government’s website.

Protesters carried signs demanding paid meal time during work days and wage increases to offset inflation, according to images shown on iCable Communications Ltd.’s news channel and other local television. Hong Kong’s consumer prices rose 4.6 percent in March from a year earlier, the fastest pace since August 2008.

The confederation also called for low-income household subsidies and universal retirement benefits, according to information posted on its website.

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