Foreign domestic workers on Sunday protested the wage freeze imposed by the Hong Kong Executive Council. - AMCB
Filipino domestic workers, along with more than a hundred other foreign workers, trooped to the Central Government Office in Hong Kong on Sunday after the HK Executive Council (ExeCo) decided to freeze their wage at the current level. Under the decision, foreign domestic workers (FDW) are to receive a Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) of only HK$3,850 or almost P23,000 monthly. “Wage freeze is an insensitive and inconsiderate response of the HK government in the face of the economic hardships facing workers right now," said Emmanuel Villanueva, spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB), in a statement. “Contrary to previous statements of the government, the MAW does not work. In fact, what it does is to keep our wage depressed and maintain the treatment of FDWs as no more than slaves and social welfare benefits of the government to employers," said Villanueva. He added that the MAW provides no venue for FDWs and advocates of domestic workers’ rights to “lobby effectively."
The HK ExeCo had earlier refused to include FDWs in its Statutory Minimum Wage (SMW) proposal for the Legislative Council. The AMCB protested the move, saying that it amounts to discrimination. HK ExeCo did increase the food allowance of FDWs from HK$300 to HK$740 per month. Villanueva said, however, that “(the increased food allowance) is no graciousness but a long-overdue move," adding that it will “never make wage freeze acceptable" to the domestic workers. The AMCB said that they would continue to challenge the decision to peg the MAW, and also to push for FDW inclusion in the SMW coverage. The HK Legislative Council is expected to deliberate on the proposal when it convenes next month. - GMANews.TV