Unions seek 12pc pay rise for foreign helpers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 May, 2011, 12:00am


A coalition of foreign maids' unions has asked for a 12 per cent pay rise for about 290,000 domestic helpers imported from overseas.

The Asian Migrants' Co-ordinating Body (AMCB) said their salary - set by the government after a regular review - had not been adjusted for more than two years and they wanted it to be revised to HK$4,000 a month.

'The wage hikes given to us in the past - only four times in 12 years - are not enough to cope with the soaring prices of goods in Hong Kong. We are contributors to the economic recovery and we are also consumers,' AMCB spokesman Eni Lestari said.

The workers are paid HK$3,580 a month. For that amount, a foreign helper works six days a week, often for 12 hours a day or more.

This means their hourly pay can be as low as HK$11.50, although employers provide free meals, accommodation and air tickets to and from the maid's home country.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said last week the authorities were likely to lift the minimum wage level for foreign maids, given the improved economic situation and rising costs.

The Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association earlier suggested the government raise the maids' minimum pay by HK$80, as employers were also hit by inflation.