Wednesday, July 16, 2008

V is for

Victory.

Not yet full but still a success. Just a while ago, the Hong Kong government has announced the suspension of the HK$9,600 levy it collects from employers of foreign domestic workers. After two years, the decision shall again be reviewed.

Though it is not the same as abolition, the two-year suspension is still a cause for celebration.

In broad strokes, the levy was implemented in 2003 by the HK government supposedly to finance efforts to retrain local workers for domestic work to face the unemployment issue of HK that time.

The levy was introduced at the same time as the monthly salary of foreign maids was cut by HK$400. It doesn't take a mathematician to see that the total amount cut from the wage of FDWs for a two-year contract is exactly the same amount as the levy. Thus, it has always been the position of FDW groups that the levy is an indirect taxation to them.

For years, FDW groups have campaigned for its abolition. Rightly so for their experience has also shown that as long as the levy is in place, their wage is also held hostage. Despite HK's economic boom, FDWs have only received mere pittance for a wage hike.

Early last week, the monthly wage of FDWs was increased by HK$100. At first glance, it may look like another victory. But if one can see that it is actually only HK$4 per day or 25 cents per hour, one shall be bound to agree with FDWs who say that it is too little.

Besides, the cumulative wage hikes for the past four years are not even enough to recover the amount slashed in 2003 and 1999. FDW wage now stands at HK$3580 per month. Nine years ago, it was HK$3860.

Developments like these are what reaffirm my belief in the movement and the people's militant collective action. They are not merely slogans nor dreams nor merely a 13-year old agitation borne by the idealism and impetuousness of the youth.

They may be small in the larger scheme of things - given the whole gamut of other issues that migrant workers have to confront - but considering the situation, any victory, however small, is a step forward.

V may take long in coming. When it comes, it fuels the people for more.


UPDATE:

Darn it. It seems like this government is still dilly-dallying as to the details of the suspension.

While it appears that the suspension is in the offing (by September), it is still isn't clear when in September, what to do about the unused HK$4.4 BILLION fund collected, and whether it will only apply to new contracts and to existing ones.

When it comes to cutting the wage, the HK government has a one-track mind. When it comes to giving relief to migrants ... mas makunat pa sa dilang makunat.

16 comments:

Kiks said...

ang vengga. volume tayo for this. pero wag tonight.

FerBert said...

2 years suspension.. enough ng reason yan para magpasalamat.. pero sana maabolish na yang levy na yan.. kawawa naman mga kababayan nating Pinoy na nagtratrabaho dyan sa hongkong!

KRIS JASPER VAN DYKE said...

sa lahat ng pang-aabuso ng mga employers jan/ pati na rin ng gov't nila, sana wag ng magbulagbulagan ang gobyerno natin.

gibo said...

vonggang vongga naman ang news na ito.

aa, heto ba ang PR na sinulat mo for circulation?

chos!

Abou said...

sana matulungan kau ng government natin.

reyna elena said...

considering yung taas nang peso vis a vis padala nang mga galing dyan sa barrio ninyo sa HK, at least that would be a big help! kong ire na lang at ma-abolish na yan! congrats!

jericho said...

@kiks: vagi! vaging-vagi!
@ferbert: oo nga. sana matauhan sila after two years..;)
@kris: yan ang wish upon a mega...;)
@gibo: leche ka. iba pa ang PR dyan .. hehe
@abou: isa pang wish upon a mega..;)
@reynz: thanks. isa pang hirit ng wage increase later .. hehe

Lyka Bergen said...

V for Very Good!
W for Wagi!

XYZ na ang susunod.
And then.....

gibo said...

@ lyka: then back to A na! mwahahahaha

chos!

wanderingcommuter said...

its a one successful step...proseso nga lang. pero ipagpatuloy niyo lang. atleast, kahit sa bayan.

i miss these lines!

dabo said...

now i'm learning.. thanks for the post jericho

dazedblu* said...

OHhhh... oo nga tama ka dyan. :)

pat said...

i don't know how crazy the labor situation is in hk, but whatever it is you're fighting for, may you triumph beautifully. naks.

Roxy said...

oooh. Tignan mo, wala akog kaalam alam taga dito ako HK mas nauna pa yatang malaman ng taga uk hehe :P 2 years suspension? ok na yun! pero sana forever na. Mashado na sinasagad ang mga pinoy dito sa HK. Subra na. HK$9,600 aba ay napakalaking halaga na nun jusco po rudeh.

jericho said...

@lyka: ... and then, uwi na ako! ;)
@gibo: ayaw mo ng G? mwahaha
@ewik: you can always go back..;)
@dabo: you're welcome
@dazed: thanks
@pat: beautiful pa rin kahit hindi pa mag-triumph.. hehe

jericho said...

@roxy: kureks. mga walang-puso ang mga toh... hehe