Sunday, 6 April 2008

HK authorities to announce raise in DH wages

Part of President Arroyo’s foreign trip template is to look after the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

During her recent trip to Hong Kong, where she keynoted the Asian Investor Conference (AIC), President Arroyo instructed Labor Secretary Marianito Roque to meet with his HK counterpart to negotiate an adjustment in the wages of our OFWs, the domestic helps in particular.

The President earlier helped explain to OFWs in HK the ‘hedging facilities’ launched by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to help cushion the impact of the continued strength of the peso against the US dollar.

Roque stayed behind in Hong Kong and met with Permanent Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Over the weekend, Roque reported to the President that Hong Kong will announce a moderate increase in the wage rates of foreign domestic workers not later than June 2008.

Roque said that Hong Kong authorities are just waiting for the statistical data on consumer price index, gross domestic product and other economic indicators, all expected to be released at end-of-April, before they can determine the amount of increase in the foreign workers’ wages.

According to Roque, the Hong Kong Labour & Welfare Department registered the presence of 125,000 Filipino household workers in Hong Kong in 2007, representing 50 percent of the household workers population. The other half are Indonesian workers.

He also stated that 28,000 additional expatriate managers settle in Hong Kong every year, most of them needing the services of household help.

Secretary Cheung, according to Roque, will inform the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong of the wage increase a few minutes before they make the public announcement.

The present salary of their foreign domestic workers is HK$3,480 a month, which is HK$270 less than the salary in 2003.

The Hong Kong government imposed a HK$400 levy against the employers in 2003 that resulted in an equivalent reduction in the wages of foreign domestic workers.

Over the past two years, they raised the monthly wage by HK$50 and HK$80 respectively.

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