Labor associations staged a march on Sunday to protest the malpractices of employment agencies in Hong Kong and demand that source countries closely monitor the situation to ensure fair treatment of foreign domestic workers in the city.
The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions (FADWU) together with a dozen domestic workers from India, the Philippines, Thailand and India marched to various consulates in the city before ending up at the government headquarters in Admiralty on Hong Kong Island, Oriental Daily reported.
They marched to the Nepalese, Philippine and Thai consulates and handed out petitions demanding that those governments closely monitor the overcharging of domestic workers by intermediaries in those countries.
Hong Kong’s foreign domestic workers continuously face severe problems of exploitation by employment agencies and employers, said Victor Wong, secretary general of the HKCTU.
In one case, an intermediary charged a one-off handling fee of HK$10,000 (US1,280) and asked the domestic worker to pay by installments. But as a domestic worker only earns around HK$4,000 a month, the intermediary was obviously overcharging and exploiting the worker.
Phobsuk Gasing, a representative of the Thai Migrant Workers Union, urged the Hong Kong government to amend provisions of the Employment Ordinance and the Employment Agencies Regulations to protect migrants workers better.
Some of the protesters said domestic workers had been subject to unfair treatment including the live-in policy and inadequate protection under minimum-wage regulations. They called for the government to respect migrants’ rights, ensure equal treatment for migrant workers, and enact laws prohibiting overcharging and exploitation, according to a FADWU press release on Facebook.