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Migrants urge better work conditions in Women’s Day rally

08 March 2019

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Protesters call for end to 'modern day slavery'
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A young protester
By The SUN

A small group of migrant domestic workers marked International Women’s Day today, Mar. 8, by staging a rally outside the Central Government Offices in Tamar to call for equitable pay and working conditions for n workers in Hong Kong.

The demonstrators from the multi-ethnic group Asian Migrants Coordinating Body called for an end to what they called “modern day slavery in Hong Kong” by giving migrant helpers a living wage and protection from overcharging by recruitment agencies.

“Nowadays women from poor countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and Sri Lanka leave their families to work as modern day slaves in Hong Kong. They are products of their government's neoliberal Labor Export Policy, cheap labor in first world countries that generates billions of dollars for their government's debt-ridden economy,” said AMCB in a statement.
Making the situation worse, according to the group, is Hong Kong’s refusal to ratify ILO Convention No. 189, which outlines the rights of migrant workers under internationally accepted standards.

Instead of affirming the convention, Hong Kong has imposed more detrimental policies like depressed wages, unsuitable accommodation, insufficient food and heath care, non-prosecution of erring recruitment agencies and others, said the protesters.
Worse, they said migrants are treated like second-class workers in Hong Kong because they are excluded from several statutes that provide for labor protection, like the Minimum Wage Ordinance and the Mandatory Provident Fund.
The group called for increasing the minimum wage for migrant workers to $5,500 and the food allowance to $2500 per month, for 11 hours uninterrupted rest and decent accommodation for them, and the prosecution of recruitment agencies collecting illegal or exorbitant fees

The demonstration marked the day in 1908 when worldwide protests for equal working women all over the world were held to protest the unjust working conditions suffered by members of the Ladies Garment Workers Union in New York City.


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