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FDHs seek $5k minimum salary

29 April 2016

By Daisy CL Mandap

Foreign domestic workers who will join the annual Labor Day rally on May 1 are set to call for their minimum wage to be raised to $5,000.
This was revealed by Eman Villanueva, a spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, which is organizing the FDW contingent in the protest.
Participants who will mostly come from trade unions will gather at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and after a brief program, march to the Central Government Offices in Tamar.
Villanueva said the higher wage demand by migrants is based on the $38 per hour minimum pay being sought by local workers, up from the current rate of $32.50.
After factoring in the latest data on the “per capita” expenditure of workers, he said the figure should actually be $5,300.
But even with the reduced amount of $5,000, he agreed it would be difficult to get the Hong Kong government to yield to the wage demand, given its track record of being stingy where migrants were concerned.
For the past three years at least, migrant workers had pushed for their so-called minimum allowable wage to be increased to $4,500, to no avail. The minimum salary is currently set at $4,100 per month.
“Pero mahirap namang masyadong maging conservative sa demand namin dahil we have to base it also on the prevailing cost of living and the current minimum wage given to other workers,” said Villanueva.
With the $38 per hour demanded by local workers, he said the monthly minimum wage would already be in the region of $12,000 which is far more than what the migrants are asking for.
Alongside the minimum wage hike, the FDWs are again demanding shorter working hours.
“Local workers are asking for a maximum of 44 hours of work per week, while we are willing to extend it to 60 hours,” said Villanueva. That means, a migrant worker should be working for only 10 hours a day on average for a six-day work week.
Studies show that on average, they work for between 12 and 16 hours daily.
The demands will also include the long-standing issues over the live-out ban and the two-week rule for foreign domestic workers.

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