Workers to rally for welfare rights

Workers call for the ratification of ILO Convention 189.

ON July 1, migrant domestic workers will call on the Chinese and Hong Kong governments to implement reform measures aimed at protecting their welfare.

Foreign domestic workers will reiterate calls on the Chinese government to ratify International Labor Organization Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers or Convention 189, which assures their basic rights.

Last June 17, the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) trooped to the Central Government Office to call for its ratification and enforcement.

Legislator Leung Kwok-hung (Long Hair) supported calls for ratification.

“I think that Chinese government should respect the workers’ rights. I think the exclusion of the migrant workers from the minimum wage is actually the major matter of you being underpaid,” Leung said during the protest.

“I think the Chinese government should put effort to ratify the ILO Convention 189. I think the legislators in Hong Kong should do more for that since tens of thousands of domestic workers had made contribution to Hong Kong. Without the domestic workers, the Hong Kong women would not be free from domestic work,” he continued.

Equality

AMCB spokesperson Eman Villanueva said although the ratification and implementation of the ILO convention would not stop abuses against domestic workers, it could serve as an additional tool to rally for their rights and welfare.

“Ito ay magiging isang batayan para lalo pang maisulong ng mga manggagawang kagaya namin ang aming mga karapatan. Ilalatag kasi nito ang pinaka-basic na mga pamantayan sa pagrespeto at pagtrato sa mga karapatan ng mga manggagawang pantahanan na kagaya o hindi naiiba sa mga karapatan at mga benepisyo na dapat tinatamasa ng iba pang mga manggagawa,” Villanueva said in an interview.

The Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers-Hong Kong (PLU-DW-HK), a merger of member affiliates of the Alliance of Progressive Labor-Hong Kong, also called for the immediate ratification of Convention 189.

Shiella Estrada of PLU-DW-HK said more countries have confirmed to ratify the convention; Uruguay was the first, followed by the Philippines, and the Netherlands.

“Sana mauna tayo sa Netherlands, pangalawa na nga lang tayo… tayo pa ang may pinakamaraming pinapadala na domestic workers sa labas ng bansa,” she said in a forum in Hung Hom last June 17.

Estrada said the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions (FADWU) continue to pressure the Chinese government to ratify Convention 189. – with Bernardette S. Sto. Domingo

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