Domestic workers have gathered outside Hong Kong’s Labour Department urging the authorities to consider an increase in wages.
More than 50 people delivered a petition to officials urging the government to increase the salary for domestic workers from HK$4,110 to HK$4,500 per month under the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW). Demonstrators were also calling for an increase to the food allowance from HK$964 to HK$1,600.
The protest was organised by the Asian Migrant Coordinating Body (AMCB), an umbrella organisation that represents multiple NGOs and charities that support domestic workers.
AMCB said the reason why it decided to hold the demonstration was because the Labour Department was carrying out a review into wages for foreign domestic workers.
The government increased the MAW last year from HK$4,010 to HK$4,110. The food allowance also went from HK$920 to HK$964. Dollores Balladares Palaez, a spokesperson for the AMCB, described the increases as “meagre.”
“A HK$4,500 wage hike for FDWs can no longer be deferred, especially as we asked for this a year ago. But the Hong Kong government refuses to listen to our collective demand,” she said.
“FDWs work an average of 16 hours a day as compared to 10 hours for local workers. And yet they only get roughly half the wages of the locals.”
“The living conditions and expenses are rising,” she told HKFP.
“We have our own expenses and allowances, so our wages aren’t enough for us for the whole month. We also have to send money to our own families.”
HKFP has approached the Labour Department for comment.