AMCB Press Statement May Day 2006

News 01 May 2006

Resist imperialist globalization!
Migrants unite with the working people of
Hong Kong and of the world!
Fight for a wage increase, services to migrants,
employment protection and our rights as workers

We, migrant workers from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal and Sri Lanka, under the militant banner of the Asian Migrants Cooridnating Body (AMCB), stand together with our brothers and sisters in the working class movement of Hong Kong and of the world in the celebration of the International Labor Day.

With the onslaught of globalization and neoliberal policies running unabated, the attacks on the life, livelihood, and rights of workers – including migrants – intensify.

Hong Kong, as a showcase of globalization, exhibits the grave impacts of neoliberal policies pushed by multinational corporations and rich and powerful countries through institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). Wage cuts, dwindling public services, taxation on the poor, and labor flexibilization highlight the Hong Kong government’s policies on the working people.

The faithfulness of the HK government was clearly seen in the recent meeting of the WTO. The government’s mask of respecting and upholding civil liberties, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly was tested and proven to be nothing but hypocrisy when confronted by the militant protests of workers, peasants and other sectors around the world.

Migrant workers, in particular, are confronted by the attacks of globalization on two fronts. Governments of our respective countries remain as consistent followers of the dictates of superpower countries. The implementation of neoliberal globalization policies has plundered our nation, displaced our people, aggravated poverty, and forced millions of people to migrate and be enslaved in foreign lands like Hong Kong.

While our own people in our home countries continue to struggle, they are gunned down, violently dispersed or are put under tyrannical rule.

The Hong Kong government, true to its rabid adherence to globalization, has continued the exploitation of migrant workers. Since 1997, our wage has not been increased and in fact, has been cut by HK$590. Even though the government has declared an improvement in HK economy and employment situation, such development has been denied to migrant workers and the majority of the poor of Hong Kong.

Last year, the HK government even insulted the campaign for a wage hike by foreign domestic workers by giving a measly HK$50 increase.

The levy, a taxation deviously taken from FDWs, is still being collected. The New Conditions of Stay and ban on live out employment arrangement continues to make FDWs vulnerable to exploitation. Racial discrimination goes largely unaddressed. Services are denied to migrants and our rights are still hostaged.

The situation of migrants, under the policies of the Hong Kong government, is getting worse.

The AMCB calls on the Hong Kong government to heed the demands of the working people of Hong Kong. In particular, we, the migrant workers, demand to:

  1. Bring back the minimum allowable wage of FDWs to HK$3,670;
  2. Abolish the levy charged to employers of FDWs;
  3. Make transparent the processes and criteria used in the yearly review of the MAW;
  4. Decisively address underpayment and exploitative practices of unscrupulous recruitment agencies;
  5. Abolish the ban on Nepali migrant workers; and
  6. Abolish the New Conditions of Stay and the ban on live out employment arrangements.

On the occasion of the International Labor Day and thousands of workers marching today, the HK government can do no less.

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