Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB)
A founding member of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and with members from Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines. Sri Lanka and Thailand
Unite and Struggle for Living Wage of Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
MDWs from Indonesia, Thailand. Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines gather today at the Department of Labour in Sheung Wan to assert their call for just and decent living wage in Hong Kong in the wake of the annual government review of the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW).
While it is true that the Labour Department’s Labour & Welfare Bureau calls for a consultation with migrants’ organizations and non-government service providers every year, the concerns raised by these groups particularly on rightful increase in wages as well as improved policies for their rights and welfare are ignored, evidence of which was clear in last year’s HK$110 MAW increase and HK$22 food allowance.
Despite their significant contribution to the social, cultural, political and economic development of Hong Kong, the current monthly MAW of HK$4,520 clearly falls on slave wage level. The Hong Kong Government remains apathetic to the basic needs of MDWs who have difficulty coping with inflation goods, utilities and services in Hong Kong at the same time struggling to provide for the needs of their families back home.
It’s about time to recognize the dignity and value of domestic work as MDWs and demand a humane living wage. Based on Oxfam’s December 2018 study on the living wage level in Hong Kong which they pegged at HK$54.70/hour, the MAW level of MDWs should be no less than HK$5,894/month. This should apply both to local and migrant live in domestic workers.
We believe that “with a living wage, workers and their families should be able to afford a basic, but decent, life style that is considered acceptable by society at its current tevel of economic development Workers and their families should be able to live above the poverty level, and be able to participate in social and cultural life.”
Thus we demand for the Hong Kong government to: Raise the MAW to HK$5,894 to meet the living wage in HK; Implement an 11-hour uninterrupted rest plus meal breaks stipulated in the standard employment contract (SEC); Ensure decent accommodation for MDWs and stipulate in the SEC the unsuitable accommodations such as toilet, kitchen, hallway, cupboard, warehouse, living room and other unsafe and unhealthy forms of accommodation.
We vow to continue the struggle for a living wage and the rights of workers. At the same time we shall continue to build our unity and strength in the migrant domestic worker’s movement and work with the exploited workers in Hong Kong and all over the world in pushing for changes that will establish a structure and system that serves the majority and not only the capitalists and exploiting classes.
Long live international solidarity!