The Catholic Church has added its weight to calls not to cut the minimum wage of foreign domestic helpers, saying that such a move would be 'unfair and unjust'. A Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs spokesman said: 'During an economic downturn, it is so shameful if we do not protect the interest of labourers who live on low incomes, but make their problems even worse.' It follows a similar move by the Anglican St John's Cathedral in Central. About 135,000 Filipino domestic helpers are Catholics. Filipinos comprise 67 per cent of the 235,000 overseas maids in the SAR. The Catholic commission also pointed to the two-week rule - which demands domestic helpers must leave the SAR 14 days after their contracts are terminated - saying it forced migrant workers to become 'non-free labour'. It said maids had to pay up to $30,000 to recruitment agencies to find another job. Father Emilio Lim, a member of the Catholic Diocese's ad hoc committee for the evaluation of pastoral ministry to foreigners, said a pay cut for maids would be 'more devastating' than a pay cut for civil servants, who were highly paid already. On December 6, the St John's Cathedral council passed a resolution condemning moves to reduce the maids' minimum pay. The resolution was sent to the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, and Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. The Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Helpers Association has asked the Government to lower the minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers to $3,150 - a 14 per cent cut - to help employers in the economic downturn. Some employers have been extending the contracts of their domestic helpers for a maximum of three months in anticipation of a wage cut, according to a Filipino counselling office. Cynthia Tellez, executive director of the Mission for Filipino Migrant Workers, said since the news of a pay review had become known, her office had been contacted by helpers whose contracts were only being renewed for three months after serving out their initial two-year agreements. It meant employers now paying the minimum $3,670 a month could then offer new two-year contracts under the reduced wage terms. The Government is expected to announce the results of the pay review on February 1.