To mark today’s International Migrants Day, almost a hundred Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong belonging to the Progressive Labor Union (PLU-SENTRO-IDWF) trooped to the consulates of various migrant sending countries and the Hong Kong Central Government Offices.
Joining the Filipino trade unionists in picketing the consulates of the Philippines, Thailand and Nepal, as well as the HKCGO, were members of the Coalition for Migrants’ Rights (CMR), Federation of Asian Domestic Workers’ Unions (FADWU) and the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU).
“For far too long, migrant workers, particularly migrant domestic workers, continue to toil under slave-like conditions,” Sheila Estrada, chairperson of PLU, said, urging for “enough of violence, enough of discrimination, it is high time for migrant workers everywhere to be respected as workers, as human beings.”
Around 3 percent or 320,000 of the Hong Kong population is composed of foreign domestic workers, in which 50 percent are from the Philippines, 47 percent from Indonesia, and the rest from Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The rally highlighted the call for all countries to ratify and fully implement Convention No. 189 (Decent Work for Domestic Workers) of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In addition, the PLU called on the Philippine government to live up to its promise of ensuring that migration would truly be just one – not the primary – of the many employment options of the Filipinos.
“President Aquino is at the homestretch of his 6-year term, and yet we haven’t seen any policy change that would ensure full employment in the Philippines,” Estrada said.
“Instead of jobs creation, what we see is the continuing destruction of decent and regular jobs, where various forms of precarious work becoming more prevalent, even among public sector workers,” she added.
The PLU said that as long as there is no full and decent employment in the Philippines and its much-vaunted economic growth continues to fail to generate the much-needed quality jobs, millions of Filipinos would be forced to seek the proverbial greener pastures abroad.
PLU is an affiliate of the domestic workers’ union under the HKCTU as well as the global union International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF). On the other hand, PLU’s mother organization in the Philippines is the national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).