Foreign workers in HK to demand $4k minimum allowable wage

Posted By: Chris On:

MANILA, June 3, 2011—Members of different workers’ group in Hong Kong demand the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK-SAR) government to peg the minimum allowable wage (MAW) to HK$4,000 despite the recent increment of HK$160 to MAW and HK$25 for food allowances.

In a statement, Dolores Balladres of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body of Hong Kong (AMCB-HK) said that there were no substantial wage increases in one of the richest place in Asia, since 1998.

“The truth is we still do not have a wage increase since the 1998 MAW level of HK$3,860. The current MAW at HK$3,740 is even way below that amount. Counting in inflation and the increase in prices of commodities and services in Hong Kong, the new wage will still not be able to meet the needs of FDWs to live decently,” explains Balladres.

The group also slams the way that the HK-SAR government had come with its decision.

“In the dialogue with the Labour Department in the first week of May, that was the only time they told us that the review of the MAW was ongoing and that the announcement will be made in August. They did not even give time for foreign domestic workers to make a case for our demand. This just showed that the MAW process is an unjust, arbitrary and untransparent process that is there not to protect the interests of migrant workers but to keep FDWs as one of the lowest-paid workers in Hong Kong,” she said.

Last June 1, the AMCB-HK officially submitted its petition for a HK$4,000 minimum monthly wage.

“We thought that the process is still on as what they told us before. Now, they already have a decision without any meaningful input and consultation with the FDWs who are the ones to carry the burden of a still very low salary in the face of the increasingly expensive life in Hong Kong,” added Karsiwen, Indonesian spokesperson of the AMCB.

Karsiwen further explained that the recent development underscored their opposition to the MAW process and their campaign for the inclusion of FDWs to the Statutory Minimum Wage.

“The HK government said that we have been excluded because the MAW process works. Clearly, it does not! We are again denied a meaningful opportunity to lobby for our rights and our wage remains hostage to the whims of the HK executive committee who use the tired and old line of ‘basket of indicators’ that are not clear and are evidently not reflective of the real condition of migrant workers,” Karsiwen added.

On the other hand, Balladares announced that they shall pursue their advocacy actions for a significant wage increase. (Noel Sales Barcelona)


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