Posts Tagged ‘最低工資’

短片|最終加了一仙幾毛-屈臣氏工友罷工紀事

 

2012年7月11至13日,屈臣氏蒸餾水廠的送貨工友集體罷工,向資方爭取加薪及減少外判人手等合理待遇。

惟資方絕不調整苛刻的復工條件,更過份是在罷工第一晚,以同一集團和記黃埔旗下的百佳車隊,漏夜偷運大量蒸餾水出外,以便翌日能繼續送貨。這顯視資方態度強硬,毫無誠意談­判。工友只好在罷工第二晚通宵留守大埔廠房,防止資方再次運水。

罷工第三日,資方單方面發出通告,要脅工友在下午三時前簽署交回,表示同意即時復工及及接受輕微薪金調整。

屈臣氏跟車送貨工友在2008、09年也有罷工經驗,工作條件及待遇一直為同行最差。工友細述是次罷工原因,及這幾年來受到的不合理待遇。

相關文章:

屈臣氏罷工時序
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/watsonsstrike/

屈臣氏罷工訪談:誠哥屈人至死的蒸餾水企業
文:寶(中大左翼學會成員)
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/watsonsstrike_interview1/

屈臣氏罷工訪談:其實他們每天就在我們身邊
文:蚊(中大基層關注組成員)
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/watsonsstrike_interview2/

屈臣氏罷工訪談:其實他們每天就在我們身邊

文:蚊(中大基層關注組成員)

編按:約十名工友知道是中大同學做訪問都十分雀躍,過程中少不免七嘴八舌地回答,有點混亂,所以在下文中的問題與回答次序都經過略作整理。

這次是我第一次參與工友的罷工行動。鮮有媒體報導是次罷工,而罷工的資料亦十分不透明,要弄清當中來龍去脈就只能靠著和工友面對面傾。當我和同伴走到工友面前,正滿心躊躇、不知道要如何開口的時候,工友已經興高采烈地聚集起來圍成一個圓圈坐,等待我們的發問。

只許共度時艱 不許加你人工

還未正式開始發問,他們就率先介紹自己是負責運果汁先生和細瓶裝水。我們本來先問他們現在情況怎樣以便打開話匣子,然而當中一名較年青、熱情的工友疾呼「我地想拎番足啲佣金!依家佢嘅做法變相係扣人工!」那麼,人工是怎樣計的?「人工通常係底薪加佣金,如果個數(指營業額要求)得七成,就會佣金打七折,近來都有八成。但人地call幾多貨我地都控制唔到!上年已經(追)唔到數,今年仲要加大個數!」一來,營業額達標與否根本無法由工友決定。二來,只要資方繼續增加營業額要求使之永遠都無法達標,工友搬幾多貨物都得不到原本應得的佣金,資方做法無疑是變相剋扣人工。

「我地嘅人工係同行最低,好多人十年前同十年後都係差唔多,都追唔上通漲。我教你寫呀,寫十年前買麵包幾多錢、十年後買麵包又係幾多錢!」「上頭話我地要同公司『共渡時艱』喎!又話一百蚊先賺得過一蚊,蝕本生意比你都唔做啦!啲水都唔駛成本嘅,105度自己屋企煲都得啦!」不論時勢是好是壞,老闆與工友權力永遠都不對等,共渡時艱不過是表面說話,工友根本無得揀:時勢壞就話要共度時艱,時勢好又唔會加你人工。

「依家新入職嘅人同做左六年嘅人人工都差唔多,如果加埋獎金,分分鐘仲多過我地呢啲舊人!」為甚麼會如此?公司不是要慳錢的嗎?「因為份工辛苦呀,人工又低,冇人肯做,咪要比多啲吸引新人做囉!自己唔做嘅人仲多過俾人炒嘅人。」而且更令工友難過的是,公司增加僱用外判人手。外判商每支飲品收到的佣都比他們收到的高出很多。他們認為為公司打拚多年,結果公司卻將應該分給他們的人工轉到外判商手上。在公司的角度來看,增加外判是必然的了。雖然每支飲品的佣是較高,但公司卻可大安旨意將勞工保險、強積金等成本轉嫁予外判商,從而減低總生產成本。而且,外判商食水深,外判工人也不能得到全部佣金,公司也大可理所當然地無視外判工人的慘況(例如工傷、長工時等)。因此,不論工友對公司多有感情、做了幾多年,慳錢至上、利潤最大化的公司只會講金唔講心,寧願外判人手都不會加自己工友人工。

我要最高工時唔要工傷!

問到平日工作狀況,工友都大嘆「呢份工都唔係人做嘅,仲辛苦過地盤工!」平時會做幾多個鐘?「寫就寫話八點開工,但七點就要番到黎執頭執尾;快手嘅話四、五點就收得工,最遲試過十點幾鐘先收工。每日至少搬八個鐘。」如果遲收工會唔會有超時補水?「梗係冇啦!」

搬這麼重的貨物,你們會不會有工傷?「梗係有啦,我地呢度個個人都有腰痛。」會如何處理?「小事咪貼塊脫苦海,或者叫老婆搽藥酒囉(眾人大笑);大事先去睇醫生。」公司會不會有所阻攔?「咁又唔會。不過會話你,又冇人叫你做咁快。點解要做咁快?旺角三間美x十二點半前要送晒貨,唔係就要兩點之後先送得,仲有其他點架嘛;過左五點之後好多地方都變禁區,又要花好多時間搵啲細街泊。而且送遲左就要扣分,年尾會有個評分表,決定你加幾多人工。同埋做快啲做慢啲都係咁熱,咁不如做快啲,早啲收工,有多啲自己嘅時間。」

「如果有最高工時就好喇。」我深表認同,如果每個人都能有多一點給自己、給自己親愛的人,那該多好。

炎炎夏日,公司會不會讓你們隨意飲那些水?「你覺得我地有時間飲水咩?(笑)每人每日有兩支水,750ml,都係今年先有,唔夠水就自己買。」我想,堂堂一大間水廠,就算讓員工任飲水都絕對不過份吧?難道工友只是搬運機器嗎?大概公司真的當員工只是搬運機器。有工友後來表示早放工都有壓力,「因為公司見你今日咁早放工,第二日可能又會比多兩更你。人黎架,體力有限。」

壓力 謠言只能止於理解

體力勞動未必是最辛苦的,心理負擔有時更能摧毀一個人。工友這次憤而出來,除了是因為是希望付出的體力勞動能夠得到應有的回報之外,更是因為身負照顧一家大小的責任。「我有兩個細路,一個升F.2,一個升四年班。我做得咁辛苦都唔想拎綜援,第時啲仔女大啲識諗嘅時候就會問,點解爸爸有手有腳但係拎綜援?」說到此處,豪情壯語的工友都不禁眼泛淚光。我心裡一面想一面覺得難過,上一代人認為工作做得愈多、做得愈辛苦,才能賺更多的錢、過上更好的日子。這種努力是美德。可是到了今天,不少打工仔終日為口奔馳,無論做得幾多、幾快、幾辛苦,人工都仍然追不上通漲,只是僅夠糊口。工友們忍了多少年了?被迫得實在無法忍受,到了今天終於決定要走出來。

除了冒著打爛飯碗的風險走出來,也怕被親友誤解,「第一次罷工果陣,個朋友打黎問我,電視上果個係咪你黎架,我即刻話唔係,認錯人。罷工都好似唔見得光咁……」一直以來,罷工都被各大傳媒污名化,爭取自己權益的工友都被描述為「貪得無厭」,殊不知工友是被資本家迫得走頭無路,忍無可忍才出來反抗。曾有工友指出,報章上報導他們公司是人工加幅最高的公司,「咁梗係啦,因為底薪最低丫嘛,加幾百蚊就變左加10幾%!」如此荒謬,到底貪得無厭的是工友,還是利潤至上的大資本家?

完結 只是又再重頭開始

訪問完了不久,工友就進入工廠等待工會和公司「談判」結果。然而,在公司與工會、工友之間的權力並不平等下,所謂的談判不過是公司單方面的通知。約半小時後,工友陸續垂頭喪氣的走出來。事後再次訪問其中一個工友,方知公司維持第一日給出的條件,佣金、外判等問題將來再「傾」。

「唔簽就係骨氣,但就冇左果六千蚊,你話簽唔簽丫?」工友幽幽的說道。過了一會,公司運水的車陸陸續續駛進工廠,工友也陸陸續續上車準備開工,一切生活再次如常……

後記

第一次參與聲援工友罷工行動,原本只是為了見識。然而,在訪問的過程中,卻讓我感受到了一種無以名狀的沉重,工友的回應每隻字都有血有汗。心裡很難過,如果資本家不利潤至上、不視勞動者為機器,如果勞動者都得到他們所有的勞動成果,如果政府能夠讓人們過上好一點的生活,如果……沒有如果,實情是,每個人都得靠自己勇敢企出來,向資本家、統治者說不,就如今次罷工,才能讓自己、讓所有人過上更好的生活。

記得訪問中有位工友突然說了一句「知道呢個世界係唔公平,但我地都係想將(公平同唔公平之間)個距離拉近啲啫。」我頓感無言。一再想到,面目這麼模糊的他們,其實就是我們每天身邊那些默默付出的工友,只是我們習慣視而不見。世界這麼大,他們卻這麼渺小。

而我們又該如何回應他們的處境、他們這般微小的心願呢?

***********************

影像紀錄:最終加了一仙幾毛-屈臣氏工友罷工紀事
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/watsonsstrike_video/

相關文章:

屈臣氏罷工時序
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/watsonsstrike/

屈臣氏罷工訪談:誠哥屈人至死的蒸餾水企業   文:寶(中大左翼學會成員)
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/watsonsstrike_interview1/

屈臣氏罷工訪談:誠哥屈人至死的蒸餾水企業

文:寶(中大左翼學會成員)

二百多磅的自己自問不算瘦弱,但猶記得要換水機的蒸餾水時,也得用九牛二虎之力才可以將任務完成。如果姿勢不正確,一不留神,真的會很容易弄傷自己的脊骨。偶爾抬起一桶蒸餾水,也這麼吃力,那麼每天抬六百多桶蒸餾水,究竟是怎麼一回事?

水的重量

的確,屈臣氏蒸餾水公司的工人,每天無論日曬雨淋,都要將六百多桶蒸餾水,送到商戶或住宅裡頭,風雨不改。

「其實,係咪好辛苦架?」我身邊一個同學為打開話題,向兩位罷工的工友問了這無知的問題。「你試下拎下啊,一桶水四十五磅,加埋個箱就五十磅!」身型與我有點相近的強哥一邊說著,一邊指著身邊那箱水。年屆四十的強哥已經在屈臣氏打了近八年工。坐在強哥身旁的阿國,聽著強哥那番話,抽著煙對我笑而不語。他年資比強哥少四年,肌膚卻比強哥黑得多,有著典型搬運工人的身軀。在強哥與阿國面前,我孱弱得像個小孩,只能靜靜地坐在樹蔭下,聽他們訴說勞動者的辛酸。

強哥與阿國的車隊是在葵涌區遊走的,只要公司一收到訂單,無論送去什麼類型的單位,他們也得接受。「葵涌區好多唐樓,不過我地百幾級樓梯都係要抬上去!」五十磅的蒸餾水,一百多級的樓梯,我想我送一次貨已是不可能的任務,繼而全身癱瘓。可是每一位罷工的工友卻不得不日日如是,不論炎夏抑或是寒冬。即使黑實如阿國這類型的工友,他也自稱自己的制服沒有一天是不濕透的。

我那時想,怎麼自己在水機斟水或在市場買樽裝水時,永遠察覺不到這班工人勞動而流出來的汗水。

給資本剝削的軀殼

當然,勞動,從來不是單靠意志就能實行,而是必須透過身體才能成就。搬運樽裝水的工人所付出的極大的體力勞動,我們或者可以料想到。然而,這些體力勞動對他們身體長期的傷害,卻遠非我們能感受,而且是切切實實烙印在他們身體一輩子。

阿國在交談期間,攤開了手掌,叫我觸摸一下。我一看他的手掌,掌心長滿了灰黃色的厚皮,頓時呆了。「即使我地戴晒手套都係會生,我做左四年都唔算誇張,你試下問啲資歷高既,真係嚇到你唔敢食飯。而家我連老婆隻手都唔敢拖。」強哥就立即笑說:「俾女摸到都飛_你啦!」聽到強哥這個黑色笑話,阿國跟我身邊的同學都大笑起來。然而,我卻不知如何反應,我真的沒有想像到,經剝削以後的身軀竟然會成了工人階級的愛情障礙。

定下神來,我接著問他們:「公司沒有派發手套給員工的麼?」強哥就指,公司派的勞工手套根本不方便抬起水樽,他們需要的是防滑手套,但公司卻不會給予,要員工自己購買。保護腳趾的安全鞋亦一樣,員工都要自己出錢。無可否定,資本家要賺到盡,真的可以完全將員工的安全置之不理。

「有啲野真係要爭番黎!」

最後,我問了這兩位工友,近年資方對工人的待遇有沒有什麼改變。答案自然一如所料,資方是無所不用其極將工人榨壓到最盡。簡單來說,運水工人底薪微薄,他們的主要收入來源其實是運水所收到的佣金。而資方近年卻不斷縮減人手,現在一個運水車隊中跟車的工友由以前四人裁減至三兩個人,直使他們陷入惡性循環當中︰若果人手不足,又要完成每天送水數的要求,就被逼延長工作時間;又假如他們無法達標,變相就直接扣減他們的人工。

強哥補充:「講真,唔到最後都唔罷工,但有啲野真係要爭番黎!資方係唔會無啦啦俾野你。我而家都係搏炒架喇。」我實在很驚訝,工人是可以說出這般絕望卻基進的話來,這實在是在我預料之外。的而且確,這次屈臣氏工人罷工就是要抓住李家誠的「春袋」,暫時切斷充滿剝削的生產血脈,從資本家手中奪回一點原本屬於他們的勞動成果。

「我地仆十次街都唔夠李嘉誠仆一次啦!」

訪問完強哥和阿國之後,我找了一班年資較高的工友跟他們聊天。他們身體所承受的創傷更是嚴重,其中一位下巴長滿白色鬚根的工友望著自己的小腿笑道:「哈,我地仆十次街都唔夠李嘉誠仆一次啦!我試過一次抬著水上斜路,腳瓜一百條肌肉斷左三十條,好似炮杖咁爆開!」這位粗豪而爽快的工友叫明哥,在公司已做了十五年,他的「演說」總是吸引很多人聆聽。「之後做物理治療都冇用,已經廢左武功。有伙記試過長期勞損要抽晒脊骨的軟骨,對我地黎講關節勞損真經係家常便飯。」

聽完明哥描述工友身體所受的損害,我心寒得說不出話來。我望望自己的手心,感覺自己跟他們彷彿是身處於兩個世界。在大學裡頭,我多多少少讀過關於資本家剝削工人階級的歷史和理論,覺得資本主義社會的運作需要有結構性的轉變。然而,由細到大,我都沒有真真正正投入過勞動市場。而在這次罷工裡頭,我終於體會到資本剝削勞動者所帶來的壓迫和損害,不論身體抑或心靈上,原來可以這麼徹底,哪怕我的所謂「體會」只屬旁觀。

「咪試下入黎做臥底囉!」豪爽的明哥忽然喧嚷起來,頓時將我從沈思中抽回現實。其他身旁的工友聽到明哥的話,亦隨即附和大笑。大笑過後,已經時席午飯時間,幾位工友問我,要不要誠哥施捨的飯盒。我心想,這些飯盒是誠哥的嗎?如果工人階級不工作,你哪裡有錢買飯盒啊,誠哥?

後記

午飯過後,所有工友到廠房商討資方拋出來的方案。資方維持第一日的條件,要求所有接受方案的員工在三點後立即開工,大部份工友都簽了紙。在這三位訪問工友裡頭,我看到阿國和明哥跟十多位工友衝了出廠房,而屈臣氏的管理層則緊隨其後,說服他們接受資方拋出來的方案。其中一個長相活得像花和尚的工友脫掉了衫,對管理層怒目相向,向他們怒吼:「我地唔係機器啊!我地係人肉做架!」

之後一個叫阿財的工友向這班工友激動地說:「個勢唔係我地度啊!」「入面果班說服唔到架喇」「如果拉到八十友既話,我實同你坐係度!」

強忍住淚水的我遠遠見到明哥跟另一批工友慢慢走出廠房,行向這批工友,然後嚷道:「算啦!君子報仇,十年未晚啊!」聽到明哥的話,這班進取的工友的眼神突然變得失落。

最後一些「企硬的」工友還是寧願放棄六千蚊的暑期津貼,也拒絕簽紙,怒氣沖沖地離開了大埔墟工業村廠房,而明哥就得立即上貨車,繼續工作。

P.S.有關我們支持罷工的理由,請見本會的另一文章〈為甚麼要支持罷工?〉

http://www.facebook.com/notes/中大左翼/為甚麼要支持罷工中大左翼學會對於蒂森電梯職工會罷工之聲明/152989774794705

**************************

影像紀錄:最終加了一仙幾毛-屈臣氏工友罷工紀事
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/watsonsstrike_video/

相關文章:

屈臣氏罷工時序
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/watsonsstrike/

屈臣氏罷工訪談:其實他們每天就在我們身邊  文:蚊(中大基層關注組成員)
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/watsonsstrike_interview2/

屈臣氏罷工時序

 屈臣氏罷工時序

2012年6月19日及6月29日工會與公司開會商討,要求管理層解決人手不足問題。管理層則指出公司已經努力進行招聘,並推卸是工人缺勤嚴重,才致使

人手不足的情況發生。管理層其後提出5至7月份每月有250元津貼,以鼓勵同事上班。另外,資方為吸引新人入職,由6月起新入職的工友做滿三個月可得2千元津貼。

在同一事件上,工會則認為工友出勤率不理想,是源於工作量過大、人手不足、工資比同行低[1],直接導致工作士氣極度低落,於是提出短期2千元津貼理應全年實施,以拉近與同行其他公司的薪酬差距,鼓勵工友士氣。但公司在未與工會達成任何協議前,單方面向工友宣佈發放8月及9月津貼共1千元。

 【罷工第一日】7月11日工會召開緊急會員大會通過罷工的動議。這次罷工行動有大概一半的工人參加(註:工會的會員人數大約有250人)。罷工行動的訴求如下:

1. 增聘人手,以每車最少四名跟車為標準

2. 取消外判,因應工作量增加而加聘人手,以增強車隊服務

3. 承認工會談判地位(註,香港的勞工法例沒有註明工人享有集體談判權,承認工會談判地位予否很取決於資方的態度),安排工會辦公室

4. 員工每月津貼2千元

5. CGI員工[2]取消佣金打折扣

6. 大水[3]司機佣金每支$1,跟車$0.85[4],大小同價

7. 每年增薪全份加到底薪[5]

8. 年終雙糧以平均月薪計[6]

【罷工第二日】7月12日 淩晨,資方卻保持翌日的出貨工作,於是在深宵派出幾十部百佳貨車至屈臣氏水廠運走三萬餘瓶水,意圖減弱罷工工友的議價能力。翌日晚上工友們通宵留守,阻止資方重施故技。

【罷工第三日】7月13日 ,經過一輪談判,資方不願讓步,只堅持原初資方提出的方案,即暑期旺假每連續3月補貼2千元、提高勤工獎獎金(增加35元)、佣金增幅由1至1.5仙。至於餘下各項要求均稱壓後再行商討。資方要求已簽約工友下午馬上復工,罷工行動至此結束。

註解︰

[1]:工人不滿的主因之一是公司不斷將運輪工作外判,外判工"跟車"的,即是搬抬工的月薪也有16,000,但他們很多時的月薪只達12,000-14,000。在香港,辦公室的飲用水運送服務主要有三大公司,包括是屈臣氏、維他以及是可口可樂。據工人指可口可樂做搬抬工的新入職月薪也達13,000,兼且每三年會享有固定加薪。

[2]:CGI是指公司內負責的新奇士果汁和果汁先生部門

[3]:辦公室內大支裝的蒸餾水

[4]︰資方的原方案是將司機佣金由$0.75增加至$0.76,跟車工人佣金由$0.545增加至$0.56

[5]︰工人指出公司每次調整工資只調整佣金、獎金等等而不是底薪。他們的底薪是由上司按他們的工作表現決定。而很多工人稱他們的底薪只有4千元

[6]︰一直以來資方只以底薪4千元計算雙糧

**********************

影像紀錄:最終加了一仙幾毛-屈臣氏工友罷工紀事
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/watsonsstrike_video/

相關文章:

屈臣氏罷工訪談:誠哥屈人至死的蒸餾水企業   文:寶(中大左翼學會成員)
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/watsonsstrike_interview1/

屈臣氏罷工訪談:其實他們每天就在我們身邊  文:蚊(中大基層關注組成員)
https://grassview.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/watsonsstrike_interview2/

好文轉載: 工運詩人鄧阿藍專訪:一定要有從事社會改革的心

〔獨媒特約記者報導〕人稱「工運詩人」鄧阿藍,低層出生,六歲曾在街上討飯,八歲被迫輟學,做報童、小販賺錢,到中年三十八歲,他在澳門大學兼修文史,半工讀完成了大學課程。九八年,呼吸詩社向藝術發展局申請資助,為他出版了名為《一首低沉的民歌》的詩集,他也有在獨立媒體網發表詩作

「一對對乾癟的
老手正在爭奪
老人同時揑着一份免費刊物
骨質疏鬆發炎的長痛
流遍整個港鐵站」

——鄧阿藍,《拾荒老人在爭奪》

鄧阿藍寫詩幾十年,打工也打了幾十年,卻在最低工資法例實施後遇到被裁的命運。藍叔曾任職巴士司機,最近四年在小巴站頭工作。他並不認為自己是最低 工資的受害者,反之,他認為社會更加需要爭取規管工時。報紙大賣最低工資害人,商家為了利潤奇謀盡出。部份不理解的工人更認為被最低工資害了。藍叔認為, 法例有漏洞就去填補,為了改善工人的福祉,他會繼續盡自己微薄的力量去改革社會。

最低工資立法:不是資本家的仁慈

藍叔知道,最低工資是他失去小巴站頭工作的主因,但他認為最低工資還是有立法的必要。「最低工資成功立法,並不是資本家的仁慈。基本上工資偏低已經好長時 間,我聽過有九元一小時的工。只是社會不得不改善。正如馬克思所言,資本家為了利潤不擇手段。要提升利潤就要透過壓榨工人的血汗。我有位清潔工的朋友對我 說,他的盤由十人被減至七人。那七人自然工作量增加,原本負責四條街,而家要負責六條街。成本上其實賺了,因為省下來的工資比要加的人工還要多。所以,不 是資本家利潤少了,反而是工人用更多血汗換回來。我們會用『賣血』來形容加班,因為我們是出賣健康來換取金錢的。法律有漏洞,我們應該想想如何可以修補。 例如法國,就不能無理隨意縮減人手。」

藍叔說,近日得到友人協助找到一份校對的工作,算是仍有收入。

最低工資立法的原意是保障基層工友的工資不會過低,以改善就業貧窮等問題。大家不要忘記,法例通過時,是一班功能組別的議員否決修訂的建議。要工人 改善生活,單就一條最低工資是不夠的。繼最低工資後,藍叔認為首要的就是規管工時八小時(三八制,意為將一日分為八個小時,八小時工作,八小時休閒,八小 時睡覺)。

在外國人眼中,會驚訝點解香港仲有人會返一星期六天十二小時。

「我覺得最核心的意義就是八小時工作制,外國的藝術文化比香港有深度,都同工時規管有關。在外國人眼中,會驚訝點解香港仲有人會返一星期六天十二小時。香 港的工運緩慢,就因為香港的行規結構性的保守運作,做成結構性的不公義。『呢一行都係做十二碼的』,當東家西家都一樣,工人有時為保飯碗都不敢得罪。當社 會環境都咁艱辛,工時又長,即使有好的藍圖,都無時間精力去做。返完工,仲邊有時間去遊行示威之類,不如在家休息。加上工時長做成對家人的疏離,健康的影 響,只是因為沒有新聞價值,無報,人們先以為唔重要。」訪問期間,藍叔提左好多次「三八制」,他認為人有多點工餘時間,才可以參與更多社會的事。在外國甚 至內地都訂立標準工時之際,我們香港的確距離立法仍有一段長路。

今年六十有五的藍叔,曾先後任職巴士司機及小巴站頭,即使每日為糊口而奔波,他仍不忘他對文學藝術的熱愛。自修文憑,然後他在澳門大學考取了中國文史系學 士,忍痛考試,最後得到 4A 的優異成績。他運用他的文字將工人的處境用詩表達出來。即使最終犧牲了健康及令家人對他產生誤解,他仍然堅持文學創作。對於知識分子,他也有獨特的見解。 他認為,爭取權益,不能倚靠知識分子。

要徹底的知識分子的精神

「有些學者、教授,只會躲進書房,或會因為大學的教席而有所顧忌,所以好諷刺,要爭取權益,就不能依靠知識分子。魯迅就說過大概的話,要革命就要革 命到底。要徹底的知識分子的精神,對世界的關懷,從事社會改革的心一定要有。不然我只會叫那些人做投機分子,只會保障自己的社會資本而已。最終工人只能自 求多福。」

藍叔認為世界有很多不平的地方,「不平則鳴」,而且認為經濟不是唯一的選擇,他希望自己去做有意義的事,繼續去追求人必須要有的精神。

後記

特記與藍叔傾談的時間雖短,仍然感受到藍叔那份知識分子的氣節,也感受到他對改革社會的熱情不亞於現今的八十後。訪問當日,也是最低工資落實的前 夕,得悉工作地點旁的單幢大廈的保安由$6500加到$8800,保安叔叔一臉滿足的說以後算是可以吃好一點。大廈法團主席也說加了人工,職員的向心力都 好一點。其實,工人付出勞動就希望得到足夠生活的工資,當我們仍為最低工資實施初期的陣痛而爭吵時,外國已在進行「生活工資」﹝living wage﹞的爭取。要改善工人的生活福祉,只要我們不停下腳步,一定會把社會推向更美好。

殘疾人士大遊行 要求同享最低工資保障

爭取殘疾人士最低工資大聯盟

殘疾人士大遊行 要求同享最低工資保障

日期:926 (本周日)

時間:上午11

地點:遮打花園遊行至政府總部

嘉賓:梁耀忠、張超雄、張國柱

我們的四項堅持:

1. 要求殘疾人士同樣可享健全人士有最低工資水平,若殘疾人士接受生產能力水平評估後,被評定不足100%生產能力,政府應提供補貼至100%水平,上限50%

2. 受生產能力水平評估之殘疾人士在一般而言不會被評定為最低工資的50%,倘若被評定50%以下,政府應提供第二次的評估,以確保殘疾人士工作能力不被低估,造成不公。

3. 對於殘疾人士現有工資已達或高於最低工資水平,政府不容許他們再評估,以免殘疾人士被受僱主壓力而主動作出評估

4. 政府應立法制定殘疾人士就業配額制度,要求50人以上之企業及團體,需要聘請不少於2%的殘疾人士

聯絡: tony shing 2343 536360834676; 達 97110906

相關報導:

1. 蘋果日報 (殘障者憂工資評估不公平)

http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/template/apple/art_main.php?iss_id=20100920&sec_id=4104&art_id=14468346

2. 東方日報 (殘疾僱員促發就業津貼)

http://orientaldaily.on.cc/cnt/news/20100920/00176_034.html

3. 東方電視 (團體批最低工資條例是變相殘疾歧視)

http://tv.on.cc/index.html?d=1284880190&i=ONS-100919-11635-12M&s=3&ss=15

是勞工 不是奴隸 ....

今日落完區趕去支持最低工資集會,已經遲到,並已剛剛否決了最低工資要包括家務工..

….
對住一堆片,腦袋忽而空白,就只將想不到怎樣剪,又覺得該講的就放上來了...

(2010年7月15日)

======================

在最低工資包括家務工被否決過後,

大概有不少人還猶豫,認為外傭也有最低工資的話,

假設係一天工作10小時,外傭的工資= $33 x 10hr x 26 = $8,580,

很多僱主不會再聘請外傭,所以否決是很合理的云云。

但根本,外傭團體一直爭取的,是在計算工資水平時扣除外傭的家用開支,

根據政府的統計的開支數字及外傭團體提供給政府的樣本計算方式,計算出來的月薪只是大約4,800元。

更重要的是:

「外傭也是工人,沒有人可以否認。外傭做的家務勞動,其實如其他香港本地工人一樣,對香港有著貢獻。

若外傭被排斥於最低工資立法以外,那麼他們不是工人嗎?難道是奴隸?奴隸制度已於文明世界被廢除,香港沒有理由可以容忍這種制度被保留。」

下面把外傭團體Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB)

在上年開始討論最低工資立法時已發表的Q&A英文版及中文版貼出來,

讓大家再深入了解一下外傭納入最低工資的理據。

雖然昨晚的立法會審議否決了外傭納入最低工資,

但正如外傭團體昨晚所言,必然仍會堅持到底。

其實每年的勞工行動,總有為數不少的外傭站出來,

願大家日後也和外傭團體走在一起,共同奪回作為勞動者應有的勞動果實!

(2010年7月16日)

有什麼可怕?

「最低工資立法」將外傭納入保障範圍,對任何人都有好處!

根本的問題在於應否將外傭被納入最低工資保障範圍。

從傳媒及所謂「政府資料來源」所反映的意見,將外傭納入最低工資保障範圍,像是會帶來世界末日。當中提到這會導致外傭工資升至9,00012,000元,這簡直是荒謬的說法!

這講法並不是事實,預測最低工資會大幅提高外傭工資是誤導,並且扭曲了外傭的意願。其目的只在引起大眾市民對將外傭納入最低工資保障範圍的恐慌而已。但有些事實是需要作出澄清的:

  1. 為何外傭想被納入最低工資保障範圍?保障什麼?

當然是要保障工資。這是關係到每個工人及其家人的生計問題,當工資受到威脅時,工人理所當然應該捍衛的。現時工資亦被視作工作的價值,反映一個人的工作在社會的經濟活動中如何受到重視。

外傭現時的「規定最低工資」(MAW)其實是行政會議的行政安排,通過這個機制,工資的水平經常可以被隨意調整。每年當政府檢討外傭現時的「最低工資」水平時,外傭們都深怕工資水平會被降低。因此,外傭期望能被納入保障範圍。簡單來說,MAW的操作是不需問責、不透明及含糊的。

若外傭能被納入最低工資保障範圍,他們便可以某程度上參與制定工資的水平:包括在制定工資水平時參與公眾咨詢、游說立法會議員、研究…等等,讓人去參與決定與自己切身生活利益攸關的事,不是一件合理的事嗎?

2. 最低工資立法為何要包括外傭在內?

外傭也是工人。沒有人可以否認,外傭做的家務勞動,其實如其他香港本地工人一樣,對香港有著貢獻。

若外傭被排斥於最低工資立法以外,那麼他們不是工人嗎?難道是奴隸?奴隸制度最已於文明世界被廢除,香港沒有理由可以容忍這種制度被保留。

外地傭工不是政府提供的社會福利,或是BOSSINIGIORDANO那些連鎖店的特價品,我們作為工人及人類的尊嚴亦應受到尊重,而不是被貶低至讓人可以「負擔得起」的價錢來購買。

3. 若把外傭也包括在內,若導致外傭工資的提高,豈不是反過來害了雖然身為外傭僱主但其實也是基層工人的市民?

不會。我們明白工人中特別是收入較低的對金融海嘯帶來的影響感到非常憂慮,這其實也是我們的憂慮。外傭納入最低工資保障範圍必然帶來工資的提高,這說法並無根據,這是需要經過立法的程序,並不必然提高外傭工資水平。

如通過其他法例、政策一樣,立法會在通過有關最低工資法例時是經過深思熟慮的,相關的人士:外傭、外傭僱主等的意見都會經過考慮,才會制定有關的法例內容。工資水平可以提高、下降、凍結,沒有人可預計會出現怎樣的經濟環境,對工資水平造成怎樣的影響。

就連勞工處官員在最近與外傭團體會面時,也表示,最低工資的水平是根據「一籃子」的指標來制定的,因此當經濟環境好時,水平應會提高,當經濟不穩定時,便會凍結,或出現更差的情況時會降低。

這也是政府操作「規定最低工資」(MAW)的同一態度,因此,外傭是否納入最低工資保障範圍內,同樣情況一樣會出現。

4.外傭現時已經享有「規定最低工資」(MAW),為何仍要立法最低工資?透過MAW不是也可以提高工資?

我們並不相信MAW是可以有效及公平地制定我們的工資水平。MAW存在著基本的缺陷:它是如前所述,不需問責、不透明及含糊的。

外傭的「規定最低工資」水平雖然曾經有所提高,但提高並不能歸因於這個機制本身。事實上自19992008年間,外傭「規定最低工資」曾經歷兩次大幅調低,現時外傭工資仍未回復1998年的水平。

5 .外傭「規定最低工資」(MAW)如何不需問責及含糊?

MAW的制定只是行政會議的「閉門造車」的產物,由於是行政安排,其決定的合法性根本不能被質疑政府也不會交待有關的決定是怎樣達成的。政府所謂的「一籃子」的指標絕不清晰,亦是經常改變,最糟的是,外僱「規定最低工資」(MAW)的覆檢用的指標的準則是甚麼,外傭都在覆檢結果已成定局後才得知。還要是他們肯解釋的時候。

6. 外傭「規定最低工資」(MAW)如何不透明?

外傭團體連政府何時進行檢討都不知道,他們只能預計政府何時進行檢討而提交建議,但政府如何處理這些建議就不得再知。

總的來說並無強制的機制,讓政府聽取外傭意見後才去制定外傭「規定最低工資」(MAW),政府是否與外傭會面,還要視乎遊說的力量有多強。

7. 外傭團體提出有關MAW的建議不是也包含工資水平的計算方法嗎?

勞僱會在反對外傭被納入最低工資保障範圍時,正是用外傭工資水平無法計算作為理由。其實在外傭團體提的建議中,正正包含了工資水平計算方法,這是勞僱會可資應用的。因此問題似乎不在可否計算,而有關人士是否有決心尋找合理的計算方法。既然他們有辦法計算MAW,為甚麼不可計算外傭的最低工資? 只要有意願,就會有辦法。

8. 新聞報導說,若將外傭納入最低工資保障範圍,他們的工資將提高至12,000元,是真的嗎?

這種說法其實是一種歇斯底理的表現。作為家居傭工,我們已清楚表達了,願意在計算最低工資時,以月薪方式計算,並在計算工資水平時扣除我們的家用開支,這開支的計算是根據政府的統計記錄的。根據我們提供給政府的樣本計算方式,計算出來的月薪只是大約4,800元。再說一次,這只是個樣本。

但是,納入與否仍是重要問題。所以,朋友們,讓我們保持焦點集中。

9. 也有意見認為,如果外傭也受立法最低工資保障,本地僱主便不會再聘用外傭,這是否真確

我們認為這個情況不會發生。這是基於一個假設:「最低工資立法」必然導致工資的提高!但即使有工資的提高也不會導致大量的外傭被遣散。根據政府的統計資料,超過70%的外傭僱主月入超過20,000元,在這樣的情況下,僱主難道就會為了50元(過去三年來的外傭工資升幅),或者就算是100元,便要把外傭趕走。這是由於家務工作本身就是一份全職工作,沒有人會為了幾百元而放棄全職工作,或一半的家庭收入。

外傭的價值在於家庭創造收入的能力,她們將家庭成員從家務工作中釋放出來,為家人賺取額外收入,外傭僱主會為了不足以購買一張迪士尼門券的金錢,而不去聘用外傭?

10. 將會立法「最低工資」是以時薪計算的,這計算方式適用於外傭嗎?

是不適用的。由於外傭是「留宿傭工」,期望外傭最低工資以「時薪」計算是不切實際的,我們和其他工人有著不同處境。因此,在我們的建議中我們是主張計算外傭最低工資時,是以「月薪」為計算基礎的,但問題是反對外傭納入最低工資的人竟以我們「留宿」一個我們沒有選擇權去決定的情況作為理由。

有些人認為外傭作為「家務傭工」,他們不是為僱主「連續」地工作,也就是僱主不能保證他們每分鐘都在工作。但既然是「家務傭工」,由清潔庶務,到管理家居都是他們的工作範圍,就算是「看屋」本身也是工作(譯者按:這與保安員有著共同處)。

不過,要強調的是「工時」並不是現最迫切的議題,雖然這也是我們非常關心的。

11. 外傭說不納入最低工資是歧視,但不以時薪計算,而以月薪計算最低工資,不也是歧視嗎?

這不是歧視。工人在同一處境下,遭到不同的對待是歧視,但「留宿外傭」與一般的工人有著不同的處境,自然用不同的計算方式。反而,將外傭排斥於最低工資立法以外,不當他們是工人的一份子才清楚是歧視的行為!

我們感到非常困擾的是政府忽然覺得用月薪去計算最低工資感到為難,我們無法不估計這只是政府的藉口。打從第一天我們來到香港工作開始,工資便是以月薪的形式計算,我們的合約清楚寫著我們的工資是月薪,就是我們到勞資審裁處追討欠薪時,都是以月薪來計算,為何現在用月薪計算最低工資就是歧視。

我們知道政府最害怕有人就外傭被排斥於最低工資立法之外提出司法覆核,但若它堅這種歧視性的做法,司法覆核便難以避免。若外傭納入最低工資保障,政府面對司法機會很微,因為根本沒有明顯的理據這樣做。

12. 你們怎樣看有人說:「若外傭不滿香港的工資,他們大可到別的地方去!」

也有人說若外傭對香港工作環境不滿,大可到別的地方去!這種傲慢的態度無助於我們了解外傭對香港社會的重要,及外傭自身的真象。事實上香港有超過25萬的外傭,證明香港需要這類型的工人,外傭的存在讓家庭成員從家務工作中釋放出來,爭取工作和賺取收入的機會,因此彼此是互相依賴的。

另外,只有那些從不面對「生存」問題的人,才會說外傭可以選擇。外傭為生存而要在較差的條件下工作,不表示他們什麼都應該逆來順受。

13. 外傭似乎有很多要求,但相對於其他國家,香港對待外傭已經是比較不錯的了!

老實說,香港對待外傭並不算是比較好。有些國家對待外傭比香港差,但不那麼差也是差!政府的政策(例如超過二十年的「兩星期的離港規定」)這逼使我們面對眾多剝削才能保住工作,如非法扣薪、惡劣居住環境、被迫非法工作、負債,這些我們往往都要默默承受,因我們極害怕會失掉工作而只能空手回到祖國。

在香港人面對危機時,我們不一樣也要承受這些不幸嗎?1999年,我們的工資被減去590元,到現在還未得到補償。

政府要把我們與外國比較,說英國、南韓都不把外傭被納入最低工資保障範圍,但又隻字不提法國、澳洲、加拿大的安大略省,將外傭也納入最低工資保障,明顯是選擇性的比較。

14. 是不是只要納入最低工資保障範圍,外傭便會滿意?

當然不是。正如本地工人的處境一樣,最低工資立法並不是所面對的眾多問題的終極解決方法,我們仍需不斷努力,讓我們的工作條件達致國際水平。

15. 為何本地工人也要關注外傭被納入最低工資保障範圍這個問題?


因為我們和本地工人一樣也是工人!我們一起建設香港。

如果我們都被包括在最低工資保障範圍內,在制定有關法例內容時,我們便可互相支援,一方的權益受到威脅時,便可得到另一方的支持。工人的命運最終是掌握在工人手上!

總的來說,香港作為國際城市,工人的待遇應達到國公約的要求,尊重公義平等,尊重人權。

外傭被納入最低工資保障範圍是對的,對各方面都有利,讓我們共同努力!

(16) 那麼國際勞工組織又對本地工人及外傭的薪金又怎樣說?

國際勞工組織(ILO)1949年大會 第97號外傭僱傭公約(修訂本) The 1949 International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 97 Migration for Employment Convention (Revised)很清楚:

6

6.(1) 這公約的每一名成員會有效地實行,在不存在國藉、種族、宗教或性別的歧視下,對該區域的合法入境者,提供相較於其國民在以下事情不會較差的待遇:

a) 只要相關事情受法律或條例所監管,或受行政機關所控制

I 酬金,包括組成酬金部份的家庭津貼、工作工時、超時工作安排、假期薪金、在家工作的限制、最低年齡僱傭限制、學徒訓練、女性工作及青少年工作;

香港會否背棄此承諾?

17. 所以外僱納入最低工資保障是最好?

支持外傭納入最低工資可表現本地居民對香港被忽視的一群的同情。外傭感激己表態支持外傭納入最低工資的工會、本地團體及市民。但當然,還有很多工作要做。

如果香港以亞洲國際都市自居,她真的應該推揚大眾都期許這世界會有的核心價值對公義有熱誠、尊重人類的尊嚴及願意宣揚甚麼是「正確」。

納入還是不納入,這是重點。

納入! 是既正確、又公正,及對所有人都好的唯一答案。

ASIAN MIGRANTS’ COORDINATING BODY (AMCB)

成員:
Association of Sri Lankans in Hong Kong (ASL-HK)
Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia di Hong Kong (ATKI-HK
) (Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers)
Far-East Overseas Nepalese Association – Hong Kong (FEONA-HK)

Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union (FMWU)
Friends of Thai – Hong Kong (FOT-HK)
Thai Regional Alliance (TRA-HK)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)

二零零九年六月十日

Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB)

A founding member of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and with members from Indonesia, Nepal,

the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand

c/o APMM, No. 2 Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR

Tel no(s): (852) 3156-2447, 2314-7316 Fax no(s): 2735-4559 E-mail: amcb.hk@gmail.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is Nothing to Fear

Why inclusion of FDW to the statutory minimum wage is the best choice for everyone

To include or not to include: that is the question. At least with regards to foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and the statutory minimum wage (SMW).

If we are to read the opinions echoed in various mass media on this matter as well as statements from “government sources”, inclusion of FDWs to the SMW will likely mean the end of the world. Imagine FDWs earning somewhere from HK$9,000 to HK$12,000. Completely ridiculous and absurd!

To clarify, such a claim is untrue. This said prediction of a gigantic leap in FDW wage is a completely misinformed statement and a distortion of what FDWs really want. What it aims to create is an atmosphere of panic and fear directed towards FDWs.

But what is the real score? The Hong Kong public must really know.

  1. Why do FDWs want to be included in the SMW? What’s in it for them?

Wage.

In it lays the everyday survival of workers and that of our family’s. If wage is threatened, any other worker will try his or her best to defend it. Also, wage is the present measure of the worth of one’s work. It reflects how one’s work is valued in the overall economic activity of the society.

Based on these, FDWs call for the inclusion of our wage to the SMW because in the current setup where our wage is determined by the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) policy, it is very vulnerable to instant adjustments. In fact when the time for the MAW review comes – and it is done every year – FDWs always hold their breaths for only those doing the review know where the wind will really blow.

In short, the process of MAW determination is non-accountable, non-transparent and arbitrary.

With the SMW, at a certain extent, there will be a level playing field in the determination of wage that we can also take part in. Unlike now where only the ExCo decides our wages in closed door meetings, the inclusion will give us and our advocates the chance to lobby the LegCo, attend public consultations and discussions in the legislative body and witness deliberations the same way that our employers can.

If one is given an opportunity to become more involved in determining something as important in one’s life as the wage, will you not take such better option?

  1. But SMW is only for local workers. Why include foreign domestic workers?

We too are workers. From our value in households to the general HK society, no one can, and should, deny the part FDWs have played and still are playing in Hong Kong.

If FDWs are excluded from the SMW that is meant to be for ALL workers, doesn’t it mean that we are not considered as workers? If we are not workers, then what are we? Slaves?

But slavery has long been abolished by the civilized world! For sure, people of Hong Kong will never allow themselves to be seen as tolerating a practice that has no place in modern times.

Neither are FDWs a “social welfare” of the government to employers. We are not items in Bossini or Giordano with “ON SALE” tags. Our worth and dignity as workers and as human beings should be acknowledged and should not be cheapened just so others can “afford” us.

  1. But if FDWs are included, will it not automatically result to wage increase that will, in turn, hurt employers some of whom are workers too?

No.

We understand this concern now that those who are not earning much are gripped with worry considering the global crisis. We too are worried.

But actually, the fear of a wage increase because of the inclusion is unfounded and even malicious. Inclusion does not automatically mean an upward adjustment of the wage of FDWs. It will still go through the legislative process.

Like any policy, the LegCo will deliberate on any proposed changes to the SMW. It will call for submissions and hear the take of the affected sectors – FDWs, employers and even the government – before taking any decision.

Wages can then increase, decrease or even be frozen. There is no telling what the actual economic and political developments will take place in HK in the future that will impact on the SMW.

Even the Labor Department, in a recent dialogue with FDW groups said that any wage adjustment is based on a “basket of indicators”. So if the economy is good, wage for ALL will likely be proposed to go up. If it is experiencing instability, it will likely be frozen or even worse, reduced.

This was what they used with the MAW as well. So whether or not FDW wage is included in the SMW or remains with the MAW, adjustments will still be made based on criteria set.

  1. If you say that wages can be determined by the MAW, why still push for inclusion in SMW? Why not stick to MAW if it has been effective and has generally even caused wage increases for FDWs?

We do not believe that the MAW is an effective and fair process to determine our wage. As a process, the MAW has very basic problems.

It is just so non-accountable, non-transparent and arbitrary.

While there have been increases in the MAW, it cannot be attributed to the process itself. While we are at the topic of wage adjustments, it should also be noted that decreases under the MAW have been even more severe in terms of impact. In fact, from 1999 to 2009, the two wage cuts implemented are so drastic that even if there have been wage increases, the wage of FDWs still have not been returned back to the 1998 level.

  1. Why is the MAW non-accountable and arbitrary?

MAW is decided only by the Executive Council in a closed door review. Because it is administrative, the legality of the decision on the MAW cannot even be challenged. Thus, the government cannot even be compelled to justify its decision for the wage adjustments it will do to the MAW.

Government’s ‘basket of indicators’ is also not clear in the process. It changes all the time and what is worse is that FDWs only get an idea of what criteria were used in the MAW review only AFTER the decision has been taken. That is, if they even bother to explain themselves.

  1. Why is the MAW non-transparent?

FDWs are not even informed when it will be reviewed. All the time, FDWs have to approximate the period of its review and prepare submissions. While the government accepts submissions, it is not clear what they actually do with it.

With the MAW, there really is no opportunity for all affected sectors to be involved in the process. Initiatives of the government to include participation of FDWs like dialogues are not mandatory and depend largely on how strong the lobbying effort is.

  1. But didn’t your submission include a computation where the wage of FDWs increased?

Step back for a while and recall: the first time the Labour Advisory Board said that they are not recommending the inclusion of FDWs to the SMW, the reason they used was that it is impossible to do so.

The computation in the submission was done just so the LAB will know that it is actually possible if they just put their minds into it. If they can compute the MAW, why can’t they compute an SMW for FDWs? If there is a will, there can really be a way.

  1. News reports say that if FDWs are included, their wages will go up to HK$12,000. Is this true?

The hysteric on the wage of FDWs reaching as high as HK$12,000 is nothing more than that, hysteric.

We know that we are in a different condition being live-in employees. As such, we have already expressed our willingness to have our wage computed in a monthly basis – minus the deductions of our contribution to the relevant expenses of the household we are part of, the amount of which is based on official government records and computations.

Thus, our sample computation for the take-home pay of FDWs submitted to the HK government is only about HK$4,800. Again, this is only a sample.

But still, inclusion or not is the real issue now. So folks, let us stay focused.

  1. There is also the fear that local employers will refuse to hire FDWs anymore if they are included. Again, is this true?

We don’t think so. Again, this fear is based on the assumption that inclusion will automatically mean wage increase.

But even assuming that there will be a wage increase, the scenario of mass layoff of FDWs is unlikely.

According to the HK government itself, employers of FDWs earning more than HK$20,000 a month is more than 70% of the total number of FDWs’ employers.

If this is the case, will an increase of HK$50 (the average wage increase for FDW wages in the past three years), or even HK$100 a month really push employers to do away with FDWs? We think not because domestic work is a fulltime job and nobody will willingly give up his/her whole salary or half the family income in exchange for not paying a couple of hundred bucks more to his/her domestic worker.

A value of FDWs in the household is that it increases the economic capacity of the whole household. It allows other members of the family to work for additional income. Will this be sacrificed for the sake of an amount that is not even equivalent to a ticket for Disneyland?

  1. But SMW is set at an hourly rate. Will this not be the same for live-in FDWs?

No it will not.

Considering that most FDWs are live-in employees, it is shooting for the stars to even hope that FDW wage will be computed at an hourly rate. Thus, as we indicated in our submission, we are willing to be included in the SMW but with our wage computed on a monthly basis because live-in FDWs are workers in a different category.

But what really bothers us now is that this “live-in” condition – one that we did not choose to be in – is now being used against our inclusion to the SMW.

Still, some will definitely argue that FDWs do not really work continuously. They will say that employers cannot really monitor the every minute activity of FDWs.

But is not domestic work broadly defined as “taking care of the household”? If so, it constitutes tasks from manning and securing the house to cleaning, cooking, etc. This means that even if an FDW is just standing by the door very still, she is actually working by guarding the whole house!

But again, the hours of work is not the issue at hand now though it still remains as a big concern for FDWs.

  1. FDWs say that non-inclusion is discriminatory. But is not inclusion with a monthly computation for FDWs, as proposed, also discriminatory?

No it is not.

Discrimination happens when one or some in a particular category is treated differently. Live-in FDWs are in a different category of work so the particular computation will surely not be totally the same as others.

But the basic minimum is that FDWs are also workers. As such, the more evident discrimination will be the non-inclusion of FDWs because SMW is supposed to be for ALL workers in Hong Kong.

We are very disturbed why suddenly the government is so concerned about the computation of our wage on a monthly basis. We cannot help but think that it is just being used as an easy way out for our exclusion.

Since FDWs started working in Hong Kong, our wage has been computed on a monthly basis. Even our standard employment contract carries this. Even the Labour Tribunal in cases of wage disputes computes ours in a monthly basis.

Why is it suddenly so hard to do now? What is the big deal? To be crude about it, it is a little hypocritical to be concerned now about monthly wage for FDWs being discriminatory.

The government is also deathly afraid of the prospect of a judicial review on this matter. Exclusion of FDWs in the SMW is very obviously discriminatory so, most assuredly, this option will face a judicial review. With inclusion, the possibility of a review is remote because there is no obvious ground for one.

  1. If FDWs do not like the wages here, they can just find work elsewhere.” What do you say?

There is also this dismissive attitude of some that if FDWs do not like the condition of work in HK, then they can very well seek jobs in other countries. Take it or leave it.

Such arrogance does not really reflect the reality of the importance of FDWs to the HK society and the reality of the FDWs themselves.

The fact that more than 250,000 FDWs work in HK means that there is really a demand for such category of workers. The presence of FDWs liberates members of the households from performing the house chores thereby making them available for other types of work and income. It is not a relationship where one can do away with another.

Secondly, those who say that FDWs have a “choice” are those who have not really been confronted with the question of survival. FDWs work to survive which is a necessity and never a choice. While this condition forces us to contend with less admirable working situation, it does not mean that we just have to accept everything hurled against us.

  1. It appears that those calling for FDW inclusion to SMW are saying that HK needs to do more about the condition of FDWs here. But compared to other countries, FDWs in Hong Kong are already treated better. Why still say otherwise?

If truth is to be told, FDWs in HK are not really in a better position than those elsewhere.

While some say HK treats FDWs better compared to countries notorious for subhuman treatment, it does not mean that FDWs in HK are already in good condition. A lesser evil is still evil.

Take the New Conditions of Stay or Two-Week Rule. For more than two decades, the NCS has ruled the working and living condition of FDWs. It has forced us to face many abuses so that we can hold on to our jobs. Illegal salary deductions, poor living condition, forced illegal work, indebtedness – these and more are what we had to bear for fear of losing employment and going back to our country empty-handed.

Aside from this, didn’t we also suffer as many others in Hong Kong during periods of crisis? Since 1999, we lost HK$590 from our monthly wage and up to now, it has not yet recovered.

FDW situation in HK is definitely not better. It may not even be close to good enough.

While we are on the topic on comparison with other countries, it is also unfair for the government to highlight United Kingdom and South Korea that do not include FDWs in the SMW. Curiously enough, the government does not bother to explain to the public how France, Australia and Ontario, Canada included FDWs in SMW and made it workable. Isn’t this too selective?

  1. FDWs seem to be plagued by many issues and concerns. Does it mean that with the inclusion, these will also be addressed?

Definitely not.

There are still many things to be done to have the condition of FDWs even approach what international standards provide for workers. As with the local workers in Hong Kong, the SMW is not the ultimate answer to problems workers face.

Inclusion is just one advocacy that may at least lighten the load we are carrying. Let’s call it a baby step towards a better treatment of FDWs.

  1. Local workers have their own problems. Why should the cause of inclusion of FDWs to the SMW be also one of them?

Because we too are workers and FDWs are part of those who built HK and continues to take part in its economic development.

Local people have nothing to lose and everything to gain by the inclusion. Our unity as workers will also be strengthened as we campaign together for SMW for ALL. When it gets implemented, it will be like a domino where any adjustment to the wage of one will mean an impact to the wage of another. The fate of our wage will be in our – the workers’ – hands.

Also, it will show that Hong Kong people indeed promote non-discrimination, follow the standard on setting wage by the ILO that the HK government also signed, and respect the rights of workers – be they are local or foreign.

  1. What does the International Labour organization say about wages for local and migrants?

The 1949 International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 97 Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) is clear:

Article 6

6. (1) Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes to apply, without discrimination in respect of nationality, race, religion or sex, to immigrants lawfully within its territory, treatment no less favourable than that which it applies to its own nationals in respect of the following matters:

a) in so far as such matters are regulated by law or regulations, or are subject to the control of administrative authorities-

I. (remuneration, including family allowances where these form part of remuneration, hours of work, overtime arrangements, holidays with pay, restrictions on home work, minimum age for employment, apprenticeship and training, women’s work and the work of young persons;

Will Hong Kong renege on this commitment?

  1. So inclusion is best?

Supporting the inclusion of FDWs to the SMW will show the compassion of the locals for one of the neglected section of HK society. FDWs are very appreciative of trade unions and other local groups and individuals who have already declared support for the inclusion of FDWs to the SMW. But of course, more work should be done.

If HK is to stand by its name of Asia’s World City, then it really has to promote the values that all people wants the world to be ruled with – passion for justice, respect for human dignity, and promotion of what is right.

To include or not to include: that is the question.

To include! That is the only answer which is right, just, and beneficial for all.

10 June 2009

Hong Kong SAR

ASIAN MIGRANTS’ COORDINATING BODY (AMCB)

Members:
Association of Sri Lankans in Hong Kong (ASL-HK)
Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia di Hong Kong (ATKI-HK
) (Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers)
Far-East Overseas Nepalese Association – Hong Kong (FEONA-HK)

Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union (FMWU)
Friends of Thai – Hong Kong (FOT-HK)
Thai Regional Alliance (TRA-HK)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)