News: '100 maids sign petition for 20pc wage cut'

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Subject: News: '100 maids sign petition for 20pc wage cut'
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Jan 08 1999 - 11:45:56 EST


'100 maids sign petition for 20pc wage cut'
ANNE STEWART and YULANDA CHUNG
South China Morning Post, Tuesday, December 29, 1998

Employers lobbying for a 20 per cent cut in domestic helpers' wages claim
they have the support of 100 maids.

 Provisional Urban Councillor Jennifer Chow Kit-bing says the domestic
helpers are among 2,000 people who have signed a petition calling for the
cut which will be delivered to the Government today.

 "Most of them have finished their contracts which were terminated by their
employers because of financial problems," a spokesman for Ms Chow's group,
which has already introduced several helpers willing to take pay cuts at
press conferences, said yesterday.

 "They want to stay here, so they would like to have the wage cut so they
can stay in Hong Kong."

 The petition is intended to exert pressure on officials from the Education
and Manpower Bureau before helpers' wages are officially reviewed next month.

 "It is still under review, this is the employers' proposal, not ours,"
said a spokesman for the bureau. The Mission for Filipino Migrant Workers
said the 100 helpers might have been "forced to agree" with the cuts.

 "Those who agree may not voluntarily agree, most of them are new to Hong
Kong or recently terminated, with huge debts at home," said spokeswoman
Connie Bragas-Regalado.

  "They are in a survival situation - but we had 35,000 who signed a
petition against it.

 "The majority will not accept it."

 Demand for maids has increased this year.

 Monthly arrival rates for Filipino domestic helpers has increased from 281
last year to 465 this year, according to the Immigration Department.


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