Migrant workers' unions are to launch an international challenge to a proposed government revision of maternity protection for domestic helpers. The move to reduce maternity provisions solely for migrant workers was sexist, racist and in contravention of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Women, unions said yesterday. The comments came from representatives of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, the Asian Migrant Workers' Union, Filipino Migrant Workers' Union and Indonesian Migrant Workers' Union. The groups are to file a complaint with the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, the UN labour watchdog which monitors and investigates workplace issues. The Labour Department has proposed that pregnant maids could 'mutually agree' with an employer to terminate a contract, which removes the protection of statutory maternity leave for domestic helpers. 'The law is racist, it does not apply to all women, rather only to domestic helpers,' said Lina Paclibar, spokesman for the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union. She said it also violated an international declaration of women's rights, which included the right to bear children. The proposed changes would take Hong Kong down the path of Singapore and Malaysia, which pay workers depending on race, said Rex Varona, director of the Asian Migrant Workers' Union. 'We have reason to believe they are systematically trying to weaken the legislation,' he said, describing the move as 'hypocritical' and not in keeping with Hong Kong's cosmopolitan image. The groups said only 159 out of 180,000 domestic helpers became pregnant last year. They are planning a protest march on August 29 and a signature campaign to present a submission to the Labour Department before the proposal goes to the Legislative Council. The Philippines Consulate has refused to comment on the proposed legislative change or how it would affect domestic helpers.