If you don’t have a union, there is no way that they can raise up their voice, no way that they can meet with government officials,” Nami stressed to the ASEAN governments.
Namrata Shrestha (Nami), the organizing secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions (FADWU), spoke at the 10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML), on 25-26 Oct 2017 in Manila.
This year’s forum focused on achieving decent work for domestic workers in ASEAN. FADWU was invited to share its successes in organizing and advocacy.The laws in Hong Kong allow domestic workers and migrants to form unions and enjoy weekly day-offs. These are some essentials that all governments should adopt.
“If you don’t have a union, there is no way that they can raise up their voice, no way that they can meet with government officials,” Nami stressed to the ASEAN governments.
In 2015 to 2016, FADWU conducted an in-depth research, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” on malpractices of employment agencies, especially on the problems of excessive agency fees. FADWU leaders formed media, research and case teams for their advocacy. Their advocacy had contributed to the government’s adoption of a Code of Practice on Employment Agencies in January 2017.
The participants of the forum, who are representatives of governments, employers, unions, and CSOs, well received Nami’s presentation on FADWU and messages. These have provided inputs to the adoption of a set of recommendations which include the adoption of progressive national plans to C189, the promotion of effective regulation of recruitment agencies and enabling an environment for migrant domestic workers’ voices to be heard.
FADWU is comprised of local and migrant domestic workers with different nationalities. It is registered as a union federation at the Hong Kong government.