Senin, 14 Juli 2008

“We deserve more than crumbs”

Foreign maids express discontent over HK$100 hike

We waited for a very, very long time and still we get mere crumbs. This is insulting, most unjust and we definitely do not deserve this.

This was expressed today by Eni Lestari, spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) and chairperson of the newly-founded International Migrants Alliance (IMA), following the Hong Kong government’s announcement of a HK$100 hike in the monthly minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic workers.

“The HK government lied when it said that the MAW adjustment is based on the economic and employment situation in HK and its tired-old basket of economic indicators. All indication, especially the HK$100-billion budget surplus, points to a more significant wage hike. This is definitely not what we expect after all the showers of benefits that were given to businesses and other sectors,” she remarked.

In its submission for a wage hike early this year, the AMCB decried the piecemeal wage increases that have been implemented in recent years. They reiterated the economic boom of HK as enough reason for a substantial wage hike to FDWs.

According to Lestari, the 3% increase only brings the annual wage of FDWs in HK to HK$42,960.

“This is still very, very low as compared to other countries with similar economic standards like HK such as the United Kingdom with HK$ 58,750 a year and an estimated HK$ 110,424 in Spain,” she reported

The group, composed mainly of FDWs from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and Sri Lanka, also lamented the delay in the results of the MAW review. Lestari reported that everyday, a minimum 400 Filipinos process their contracts and it is almost the same for Indonesians.

“Because of the delay in the announcement that in the past has been done before June, tens of thousands of FDWs have already been denied of any improvement in their wage situation for the next two years,” she relayed.

Lestari believed that the delay in the decision was done in order to appease employers who are still being charged with the levy implemented in 2003.

“Obviously, the levy is one of the major stumbling block for us to have a significant wage increase. It does not benefit FDWs nor our employers and thus should be scrapped immediately,” she added.

Finally, Lestari announced the group’s plan to hold a rally on Sunday, July 13, to denounce the wage hike decision.

“There is no way that we can be satisfied with this decision. Our campaign shall continue until we get a significant and substantial wage hike and the levy is finally abolished,” she concluded.

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