Wednesday, 2 July 2008

"Wage Increase Delayed is justice Denied"

Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB-IMA)Members from Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines(The AMCB is a member of the International Migrants’ Alliance or IMA – a global alliance mainly of grassroots migrant organizations from 25 countries) Press Release01 July 2008For reference: Eni Lestari Spokesperson, Tel. No.: (852) 96081475

“Wage increase delayed is justice denied”Foreign maids march to press for immediate wage hike “Each day that a wage increase for migrant workers is delayed is a denial of justice.” This was declared today by Eni Lestari, spokesperson of the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB) as hundreds of foreign domestic workers carried the call for an immediate wage increase for FDWs and the legislation of a minimum wage for all workers in the July 1st demonstration. “We are into the second half of the year already and still the HK government refuses to give us our share of the economic rebound through a substantial wage increase. Every day, we labor under the same condition, we work even longer hours, the HK government charges us the same fees and our plight is unchanged. The government shows its utter unconcern and disregard to our situation as the days go by,” she added. Early in June, news broke out that the government shall grant a HK$50 wage increase for FDWs. However, it remains unconfirmed up to now. For the past years, the results of the annual review of FDWs minimum allowable wage are announced on the second quarter of the year. “Now, the government is not only denying us a significant wage increase. It is withholding its decision that will result to the exemption of thousands more FDWs from any addition to the minimum wage for their next contract,” Lestari lamented. According to Lestari, hundreds of FDWs process their contracts everyday. She said that for Filipinos alone, a minimum of 400 contracts are processed everyday. This figure, she said, is roughly the same with Indonesians. “Each day, more and more of us have to process a contract under the current MAW level and cannot expect a wage hike for the next two years. With inflation and the increase in prices of many basic goods in Hong Kong, the deterioration of the economic condition of our families back home , and the dwindling value of our remittance, how can we survive without a wage hike?” she remarked. AMCB submitted its petition for a wage increase early this year. The group cited the economic recovery of Hong Kong as shown by its HK$100 billion budget as one of the major reasons for the wage increase. Lestari averred that the refusal of the government to grant the increase for FDWs also “reeks of discrimination.” “We are the first to suffer the brunt of policies that impact our livelihood. But we are also the last to be given even a little reprieve from hardships,” she said. Lestari, who is also the chairperson of the newly-founded International Migrants Alliance or IMA, relayed that they shall expose the HK government’s “insensitivity” to the migrant workers in the international community. “We shall gather the support of members of the IMA to put more pressure to the government to give in to our demands. Wage increase is a just fight for all migrants,” she remarked. The IMA is an alliance of more than 100 organizations of migrants, mostly grassroots, from 25 countries. It was established recently in HK and has resolved to launch campaigns on wage and job security among others. “The benefits of the economic rebound still have not trickled down to grassroots level. We still have to contend with hardships brought by past massive wage cuts, insignificant wage increases, and the continued collection of the levy. It is high time for the government to give us justice and answer our wage increase demand,” Lestari concluded.#

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