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Pinay hunts down employer who owes her unpaid wages

16 July 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao

The Tribunal could not proceed with the case in the absence of the employer 

A Filipina helper is on a manhunt for her former employer who allegedly owes her $8,000 in unpaid wages, return air ticket and one month salary in lieu of notice.

Maricel Ulay launched her search for Chu Wa-cheun after the employer failed to show up for the hearing of the helper's claim at the Labour Tribunal earlier today, Jul 16.

It was the first setback for Ulay after terminating her contract with Chu, as she had previously recovered Php45,000 from the employment agency in Manila which had placed her for the Hong Kong job.

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Ulay waited in court until 11:30am when Presiding Officer G.T. Lung started hearing her claim, but her former employer was nowhere to be found.

Lung said he could not proceed with the case because the court notice that was sent to the defendant in the address supplied by Ulay was returned to the Tribunal as Chu could not be found there.

Ulay said the address was supplied by Chu in their employment contract.
Lung advised the Filipina to try to find the defendant in her new address and hand the court notice and the bundle of claim documents personally to her.

In the meantime, Lung said he was withdrawing Ulay’s claim until Chu could be located.

Ulay said after the hearing that she terminated her contract on Apr 20, after only four months with Chu, because the employer had made her work illegally in her laundry shop in Sheung Shui.

After the hearing, volunteers for the Mission for Migrant Workers who accompanied Ulay to the Tribunal tried to help her locate on Google maps Chu’s laundry in a remote village in Sheung Shui.

The maid did not know the name of the street but remembered the minibus number and the route, which she said was 10 minutes away by bus from the MTR station.

The volunteers eventually found the street but could still not pinpoint the laundry’s exact location because, as Ulay said, it was on a numberless yard fenced off with GI sheets.

Ulay, a friend and the owner of her Hong Kong agency decided to set off for Sheung Shui to locate the laundry, and serve the court documents to her missing employer. 

Earlier this month, Ulay managed to recover the Php45,000 charged her by her Philippine agency, with help from outgoing Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre. Ulay said the agency paid back the money to her mother in the Philippines on Jul 7.
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