Exclusion of foreign maids in HK minimum wage hit
MANILA, Philippines – A group of migrant workers in Hong Kong, including Filipinos, lambasted the Legislative Council’s (LegCo) final vote against the inclusion of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in the statutory minimum wage.
“Slavery, marginalization and discrimination have now been put into law in HK. There is neither justice nor democracy in the Legislative Council’s (LegCo) vote against the inclusion of foreign domestic workers in the statutory minimum wage,” said Dolores Balladares, spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB).
Balladares’s group described the decision as “a legislation of slavery, discrimination and poverty”. She said the legislation excluded live-in domestic workers, majority of whom are foreign workers numbering more than 240,000.
“Legislators who voted for our exclusion should be ashamed for they just revealed their real nature as anti-migrants, discriminatory and champions of slavery,” she said.
Balladares said that the exclusion meant that the FDW wage will remain “imprisoned” by that Minimum Allowable Wage or MAW policy that is “unjust, not transparent and arbitrary.”
“Our wage shall remain to be insecure and vulnerable to the whims of the HK government who never put the interest of FDWs as one of its priorities. To them, we are disposable workers whose rights can always be discarded,” she said.
The group will challenge the decision and is eyeing the possible filing of a judicial review against the exclusion. They will also send protest letters and petition to the international community, including the International Labour Organization and the United Nations.
“This decision should be exposed as an international shame. Slavery and discrimination is alive in Hong Kong and, worse, has become institutionalized,” she said.