| We deserve a substantial wage increase|
We deserve to benefit from HKs economic recovery
Before, they asked us to share the burden. Now, they should share with us migrant workers the benefit of Hong Kongs economic recovery.
Despite the minimal wage that we are receiving, the Hong Kong government cut the Minimum Allowable Wage by HK$400 in 2003 while at the same time imposing a levy for employers of foreign domestic workers (FDWs).
We said then that the wage cut and the levy is unjust, immoral and illegal and we have not backed down from this position.
Thus, for the next succeeding years, the call Bring back HK$3,670! Abolish the levy! spread among FDWs and migrant organizations have consistently carried the campaign. For the past two years, we have seen the fruits of this campaign with the two consecutive wage increases HK$50 in 2005 and HK$80 in 2006.
However, this is a too small as compared to the HK$590 cut our wage has suffered from since 2000.
The HK economy has experienced three consecutive years of strong and broad-based economic growth with the GDP expanding by 8.6% in 2004, 7.5% in 2005 and 6.8% in 2006.
According to the HK economic report, the external sector has also performed well. Moreover, the unemployment rate has been falling to 5.6% in 2006, and 4.4% in January 2007. Total exports grew strongly by 9.4%, and by a further 9.2% year-on-year in January 2007. A total of 25.3 million visitors, or 3.7 times the size of local population, came to Hong Kong in 2006, representing a 8.1% increase from a year earlier in the tourism industry.
Simply said, the bouncing back of Hong Kong has not yet trickled down to the vulnerable sectors of the society including us foreign domestic workers.
Our struggle for wage increase is always a just demand.
FDWs continue to be one of the lowest paid workers in Hong Kong. We do domestic work and even caregiving tasks six days a week and are on call for 24 hours. We contribute to the Hong Kong society especially in the communication, transportation and social service sectors.
Yet, our contributions get largely ignored. We experience various forms of discrmination, our job security is always threatened, and our livelihood is always the first to be sacrificed everytime the economy encounters problems.
While we pursue our call for a wage increase, we also do not let go of our demand to abolish the levy that serves no purpose other than to keep our employers, who are mostly workers like us, wary of any increase to our wage. The Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) has already submitted a petition to the Economic Development and Labor Bureau for a wage increase for FDWs and the abolition of the levy. The decision of the EDLB is expected to come out within the next few weeks.
There is no letting go of the fight for wage increase. This fight is for our families and for us as workers.
Substantial wage increase now!
Abolish the levy!
Join the march on May 1, International Labor Day. Assembly time: 2:30 PM. Assembly place: Victoria Park. On this day, migrant workers and local workers will join together to push for the interests of the working people of Hong Kong.