Monday, 23 May 2011

Asian migrants say ‘OK to 4K’

AMCB unveils plans for wage hike campaign
Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body (AMCB)
Press Release

22 May 2011

“Considering we never had a wage increase since 1998, a HK$140 increase to our wage level more than one decade ago is a just call. We say ‘OK to 4K’.”
This was the call of migrant workers under the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body as they launch their campaign for a wage hike in a press conference today.

The group is seeking for HK$4000 monthly wage for the city’s more than 250,000 foreign maids.
The AMCB composed of Filipino, Indonesian, Thai, Nepali and Sri Lankan organizations and union is the foremost Asian group seeking a wage increase for foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. “While the economy of Hong Kong recovers, the recovery of the wage of FDWs is going at a snail’s pace. After the HK$190 wage cut in 1999 and the HK$400 slash in 2003, we have been given back merely half of the total cuts in our salary. It is a high time for the HK government to give us a real wage increase,” said Eni Lestari, spokesperson of AMCB. Lestari added that the steady rise in prices of food and other commodities in Hong Kong due to inflation – now pegged at 4.6% - make it hard for FDWs to sustain their needs.

“The sporadic and minimal wage hikes given to us in the past – only four times in 12 years - are not enough to make us cope with the soaring prices of goods in Hong Kong. We our contributors to the economic recovery of Hong Kong and we are also part of the Hong Kong consumers. An economic relief for FDWs is much needed and it is needed now,”
she added.

Due to the exclusion of FDWs from the Statutory Minimum Wage, the AMCB is aiming for a more positive result in the review of the Minimum Allowable Wage.
“The Hong Kong government must now show its good faith to the hundreds of thousands of FDWs in Hong Kong. For a long time, we have been treated as disposable commodities whose wage is arbitrarily, and without transparency, decided by the government. We ask them to fill in our shoes and see how it is difficult to survive with the current wage level we have,” Lestari challenged.

In the press conference, leaders of the AMCB unveiled their plans to push their demand. These include forwarding of a submission to the Executive Committee and requests for dialogues, a series of mass actions leading to the expected release of the results of the MAW review in the third quarter of the year, and petition signing among different nationalities to be submitted to their respective governments to ask for proactive support to lobby the HK government for a wage increase. Additionally, Lestari reported that they will pursue a judicial review against the exclusion of FDWs from the SMW. “We are geared to fight to get an OK to our 4K demand. Enough of the feel-good and pathetic wage hikes. We need a genuine wage increase,” Lestari concluded.

Note: Our apologies for the sudden change of venue for the press conference this morning because of the bad weather. The press conference went ahead together with the the launching of the signature campaign of the AMCB calling for the increase of the minimum allowable wage (MAW) for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to at least $4,000 per month.

At the same time, leaders of the AMCB announced that they will hold a series of protest actions - [1] June 1, protest action and submission of petition to the Executive Council outside the CGO. This will coincide with the opening of the 100th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland where a convention for domestic workers is expected to be approved (AMCB will send Eman C. Villanueva, Vice Chairman of the Filipino migrant Workers' Union (FMWU), an affiliate of the HK Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), to the ILC in Geneva to raise the issues of FDWs in Hong Kong), [2] will mobilize thousands of FDWs to join the annual July 1st HK people's action from Victoria Park to CGO, [3] massive protest action on July 24, to reiterate the demand for $4,000 MAW before the end of the annual wage review of the government expected in August.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

UFDWR Analysis of the ‘Blue report’

UFDWR Analysis of the ‘Blue report’ Decent Work for Domestic Workers IV (2A) and IV (2B)

A brief analysis of the latest version of the proposed Convention and Recommendation on Domestic Work (contained in report IV(2B) with commentary in report IV(2A)), in comparison with the United for Foreign Domestic Workers Rights (UFDWR) coalition submission to the International Labour Organisation for amendment to the 2010 proposed Convention and Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (report IV(2)).


1. General observations

2. Analysis on the proposed Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers

3. Analysis on the proposed Recommendation Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers

The full UFDWR analysis can be found on the Ufdwr Campaign facebook page under notes or email for a copy.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Thank you for supporting domestic workers!

APWLD would like to thank all those organisations and individuals who signed up or endorsed our letter to ministers of the Indonesian and Malaysian governments. We have a total of 259 individual and 112 organisational endorsements. Fingers crossed that the governments vote for the adoption of the Convention and Recommendation on decent work for domestic workers at the International Labour Convention next month. Updates will be posted on this site.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Taiwan - Indonesian agreement on domestic workers

The National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Overseas Labor (BNP2TKI), the Indonesian Trade and Economy Office (KDEI) in Taiwan and the Taiwan Economic Trade Office (TETO) have signed an agreement to increase protection for Indonesian migrant workers in the country.

BNP2TKI director for preparation and departures Arifin Purba said Saturday that Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan were the biggest population of migrant workers in the country, with 161,000 workers. Most of the workers work as domestic helpers or old people helpers.

“As Indonesia has the biggest number of overseas workers in Taiwan, the Taiwanese government through the TETO has agreed to give more protection to our workers,” he said as quoted by

Under the agreement, which was reached during the annual meeting of the KDEI with the TETO in Taiwan last Friday, the Taiwanese government will ensure workers' right including monthly salary, insurance, and overtime pay.

The better protection for Indonesian workers is expected to lower the number of workers with problems. The KDEI reported that 11,180 workers faced deportation due to a range of problems.

Demand for Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan, Arifin said, has grown bigger from year to year. “Especially as caregivers,” he said. Under the agreement, the Indonesian government agrees to raise the quality of workers in Taiwan.

“We will try to provide better training for future workers to increase their quality,” he said. The board also would provide language training and increase the health' quality of the workers.

Domestic workers: "we are workers we are not slaves"

That was the chant of hundreds of Indonesian domestic workers who took to the streets of Hong Kong at a Labor Day rally in the city’s downtown area on Sunday.

“We want to let the people of Hong Kong know that we’re not happy about the exclusion of domestic workers from the new minimum wage law and that we want a substantial wage increase now,” one of the protesters said.

Hundreds of Indonesian migrant workers marched under banners demanding on May Day. Among their complaints were unfair visa requirements and poor treatment by employers. (JG Photo/Shari Nijman)
Hundreds of Indonesian migrant workers marched under banners demanding on May Day. Among their complaints were unfair visa requirements and poor treatment by employers. (JG Photo/Shari Nijman)

See the article in Jakarta Globe 'Migrant Workers Stand Up' by Shari Nijman & Nathan Griffiths | May 04, 2011

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Call for organisational endorsements - Urge governments to adopt convention on domestic work!

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) is seeking organisational endorsements for our campaign to urge the Indonesian and Malaysian Governments to vote for adoption of an International Law on Domestic Work.

It is time to stop the slavery-like conditions endured by domestic workers. An international agreement that recognises that domestic workers are entitled to be treated fairly as workers is essential. Last year, the International Labour Conference proposed just that. However, neither the Indonesian nor Malaysian Governments supported the proposed domestic workers convention.

Support the campaign to ask these governments to vote to adopt the Convention and Recommendation on domestic work at the International Labour Conference in June 2011


APWLD’s letter writing campaign will take our collective voices and urge the Indonesian and Malaysian governments to vote to adopt the ILOs proposed Convention and Recommendation on Domestic Work. View the full letter here.

Targets include:

Indonesia:Dr H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, Dra. Sri Danti, Ministerial Secretary, Ministry for Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Drs. H. A. Muhaimin Iskandar, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration.

Malaysia: Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, Malaysian Human Resources Minister, B. Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, The Home Ministry Of Malaysia.

You can also send your endorsement by email to the APWLD Secretariat by contacting