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Hong Kong: Domestic workers' urgent call to ratify C189

Hong Kong: Domestic workers' urgent call to ratify C189

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by IDWFED published Mar 22, 2012 12:00 AM
Representatives from domestic workers unions and groups met Mr. Noel Eugene Eusebio M. Servigon, Consul General of the Philippines in Hong Kong, on 22 March 2012.

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HONG KONG -

Representatives from domestic workers unions and groups met Mr. Noel Eugene Eusebio M. Servigon, Consul General of the Philippines in Hong Kong, on 22 March 2012.

The delegation, consisted representatives from APL-HK (Alliance of Progressive Labour, Hong Kong), FADWU (Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions), CMR (Coalition of Migrants’ Rights) and HKCTU (Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions). Jointly they handed in a petition letter to the Philippines government. They pressed on the Philippines government to ratify the ILO Convention C189 on decent work on domestic workers as soon as possible.

“We have been waiting and waiting, for long time. Workers are all asking when the Filipino government will really ratify the C189. There are only three months left.” Shiella, a leader of the Overseas Domestic Workers Union, expressed the pressing concern of domestic workers in Hong Kong. According to the rule of ILO, ILO Convention C189 needs at least two countries to ratify before June 16, 2012. Otherwise, the convention will be unenforceable.

Among some of their major concerns, over-charging of recruitment fees is one. In Hong Kong, employment agencies are charging migrant domestic workers, from an amount of HKD 8,000 (USD 1,000) up to HKD 30,000(USD 3,500). This is not in line with what the laws say. Hong Kong law limits the agency fee to be collected from workers to a maximum 10% of the first month salary (which is HKD 374 / USD 48). Filipino government allows placement fee but zero agency fee.

Hong Kong newly implemented Statutory Minimum Wage (SMW) which sets a level of HKD 28 (USD 3.60) per hour, has excluded live-in domestic workers resulting in huge discrepancies over wages of domestic workers and other workers. Hong Kong has a standard contract for migrant domestic workers. However, migrant workers are not informed of the working condition before they leave thecountry.

“We want to know what kind of cooperation exists between Philippines government, Hong Kong government and others like Indonesian government.” Sring, from the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union, asked an important question to Counsul General Servigon but got no concrete response.

“The Philippines government should set up an investigation and monitoring team on abusive agencies.” Dai Tai, a local Chinese domestic worker and a leader from the Hong Kong Domestic Workers General Union, echoed the problems of employment agencies raised by Shiella and Sring. She expressed that the government should have the will to protect domestic workers.

Consul-General Servigon gave no information regarding the status of ratification. He promised he would relay the message to the government in the Philippines and maintain regular dialogue with the organizations in future.

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Story Type: News

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