February 21, 2005

You are on the invidual archive page of Cut price labour. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.
Cut price labour

On Friday I wrote about domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Today's SCMP reports on the rapidly changing make-up of this workforce. At the end of January there were 120,400 Filippino domestic helpers compared to 91,700 from Indonesia, according to the Immigration Department. In 2000 there were more than 150,000 Filippinos and around 50,000 Indonesians.

Why the rapid change?

A survey by the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers showed about 90 per cent of Indonesian helpers were earning between $1,500 and $2,500 a month...
"The Indonesian recruitment agencies are the ones facilitating the underpayment so that even before the helpers arrive in Hong Kong, they are not aware that there is a minimum wage. They only know how much salary they have agreed on when they were in Indonesia," he [Eman Villanueva for the Asuian Migrants Co-ordinating Body] said.
Now that is a scandal. The Immigration and Labour Departments need to do a better job of informing newly arrived helpers of their rights while at the same time ensuring enforcement of the minimum wage. Otherwise what's the point of having a minimum wage at all? This is not about the economics of a minimum wage. It's about the Government providing equal protection to all Hong Kong residents. A couple of prosecutions and some jail time for employers paying below the minimum wage would work wonders.

Update: Chris also examines Mr. Phooey's original article.

Update 2: (14:03 23/3) HK Macs suggests a deposit with the government and compulsary standing orders.

posted by Simon on 02.21.05 at 10:27 AM in the Hong Kong category.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Send a manual trackback ping to this post.


Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?