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Migrants: minimum wage for all guards, cleaners

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image Mission for Migrant Workers society called on the Macau government to extend the minimum wage for all cleaning and security workers, including non-resident staff

The Mission for Migrant Workers society (MFMW) has called on the Macau government to extend the implementation of the statutory minimum wage for all cleaning and security workers.
The standing committee for coordination of social affairs is currently studying the extension of the minimum wage for all building security and cleaning workers. But if the measure is implemented, only those that are Macau residents will enjoy it.
“We should unite with local working people in advocating for a statutory minimum wage for all. This includes all domestic workers. This is to ensure that all working people get decent wages and benefit from their contributions to the economy of Macau,” the MFMW said yesterday in a statement.
The territory currently has a minimum wage, but only for the cleaning and security workers outsourced by the government.
The society stated that, in the third quarter of last year, 46.3 percent of resident workers earned less than MOP 10,000 per month, while 24,700 workers or 7.4 percent of the population earned less than MOP 3,500 a month.
“Domestic workers, on the other hand only had a median income of MOP 3,000,” the statement stresses.
“The government provides a minimum subsidy of MOP 3,200 for single residents who need such assistance as the Macau government has a MOP 246.8 billion foreign exchange reserves. The call for a statutory minimum wage is thus just,” it concludes.

Ban doubts


The MFMW statement coincides with World Day of Migrants and Refugees. In a review of 2011, the advocacy group based in Hong Kong particularly praised the revision of the six-month ban and the court victory of a group of non-resident workers against Guardforce.
Concerning the changes to the six-month ban, the group fears that “this might result in a wage cut for foreign domestic workers like what happened in neighbouring Hong Kong”.
The standing committee for the coordination of social affairs suggested that imported workers could be free to change jobs, even to a different industry, immediately after their contracts expire.
They are also allowed to stay in Macau if they terminate the contract with just cause or if their employers fire them without just cause.
On the other hand, if the employer terminates the contract with just cause, the employee has to leave Macau for six months and only after could he or she be granted a new work permit. The same happens if the worker terminates the contract without just cause.
Nonetheless, the MFMW stressed that the negative and main concerns about the ban provisions remain.
“This includes being banned when one’s contract is terminated by the employer with ‘just cause’ and when the employee terminates the contract ‘without just cause’,” it said.
The group also believes that the number of days of stay after migrants see their contracts terminated is not enough. “This further limits their right to file claims against employers who still owe them money,” because very often the Labour Affairs Bureau fails to ensure workers’ permit is extended, it pointed out.

A.L.

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