Women migrants, intensify the struggle against modern-day slavery!
Fight for our rights, resist discrimination on migrant workers in Hong Kong
It was the struggle of women that started the International Working Women뭩 Day. It is the same struggle for wage, livelihood, labour rights, civil and political rights, and against violence and discrimination that shall continue to make women and women migrants strive to strengthen our movement and link it with our people뭩 movement for social justice and liberation.
Migrant workers in Hong Kong � majority are women domestic workers � experience the same issues that women confronted 100 years ago.
The refusal of the HK government to include foreign domestic workers in the Statutory Minimum Wage that is being discussed at the Legislative Council (LegCo) has been the most recent of the HK government뭩 move to reduce the status of migrant workers to no more than mere slaves of the modern times.
Hong Kong has undergone an economic crisis, has bounced back and, like other countries in the world, is again in the midst of an economic crunch. Since 1999, however, the wage of foreign domestic workers has not recovered yet from the drastic cuts it has suffered from.
The wage increases implemented in recent years do not, in any way, measure to our needs and that of our families. Especially during this time of worsening economic crunch, our livelihood that is already insecure cannot cope with the skyrocketing prices of basic goods and social services.
Yet, inclusion to the SMW that may at least bring us relief and provide a level of protection to our wage against arbitrary, unjust and un-transparent wage reductions is being denied to us by the government of Hong Kong.
Aside from the issue of wage cuts and our exclusion from the SMW, we are also subjected to severe discriminatory policies and widespread violence. The New Conditions of Stay or Two-Week Rule that puts us in a situation vulnerable to abuses remains in place despite calls for its scrapping echoed even by the Committee for Elimination of Discrimination against Women or CEDAW of the United Nations.
As live in workers, we work for very long hours with many of us also not given the proper rest days. Inside households, various types of abuses are rampant as well ranging from verbal, physical to sexual violence. However, with the NCS in place and the debt-ridden status of FDWs even before arriving in HK, many FDWs are forced to not seek redress for what they are suffering from for fear of losing their major or even only source of income.
But it is not only the Hong Kong government that tramples on our rights. Governments of our own countries are liable, if not even more responsible, for the conditions of slavery that we are in.
Labour-export program has been institutionalized and women are treated as commodities that can be disposed of in the most profitable way that labour-sending governments can. This also includes putting us under the mercy of unscrupulous recruiters whose only concern is to squeeze out the biggest profit from us in the form of placement and other fees.
But when we encounter problems, there is a severe lack of concrete on-site services to assist us in our cases. It oftentimes requires sustained pressure before government officials in charge of our welfare act to help us.
But the movement of FDWs � of women migrants in Hong Kong � continues to strive to uphold and defend our rights and wellbeing.
Any improvement in our situation has been borne out of militant struggles that we waged in the past and still are waging up to now. Like our sisters from the oppressed masses 100 years ago, we uphold the primacy of the collective actions of grassroots women to achieve our demands. We too also strive to be a part of the movement of our compatriots to finally bring about the basic social changes that will finally stop forced migration, commodification of migrants, discrimination and violence against women.
This is the same movement that will make social justice a right that women migrants will also enjoy.
Include FDWs in the minimum wage law!
Scrap the Two-Week Rule! No discrimination!
We are workers, we are not slaves!
Stop the commodification of women migrant workers!
Long live the militant women뭩 movement!

08 March 2010

Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI-HK)
Association of Sri Lankans (ASL-HK)
Far East Overseas Nepalese Association (FEONA)
Friends of Thai (FOT-HK)
Filipino Migrant Workers� Union (FMWU)
Overseas Nepalese Workers� Union (ONWU)
Thai Regional Alliance (TRA-HK)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK)