HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong bank employees are setting up a trade union amid the city's ongoing protests, saying their goals include "defending democracy and freedom".
The Hong Kong Financial Industry Employees General Union completed registration under the city's trade unions ordinance this week, a spokesman for the Labour Department said.
The organisation has about 20 members and hopes to increase the number to 1,000 in a year, according to a representative.
"To maintain Hong Kong's core values and international status, the financial sector should not keep silent any longer," the trade union said in its founding statement.
The group "aims to unite fellow members in the financial-services sector to have a voice in important social topics".
The effort comes as tensions rise in the city between companies and their employees.
As social and political unrest continues, businesses have warned staff about their conduct outside work hours.
In some cases, notably at Cathay Pacific Airways, there have been dismissals linked to the protests.
A BNP Paribas SA executive whose social media posts about the protests earlier that led to a public apology from the bank subsequently left the firm, saying he would focus on activism.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, which is in the process of building its presence in China, recently told some staff not to refer to Hong Kong, Macau or self-governing Taiwan as separate countries in research reports.
Banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc have called for a peaceful resolution to differences.