October 21, 2017

Hong Kong politician raises air-con rule for housekeepers


Hong Kong politician raises air-con rule for housekeepers

An air conditioning unitImage copyright
YOKO AZIZ

Image caption

The average temperature during summer months in Hong Kong is 31 degrees celsius (88 fahrenheit)

A Hong Kong district councillor has spoken out about a need for employers to introduce rules over whether domestic workers in the region can use air conditioning, it’s reported.

According to Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), the Liberal Party’s Michael Lee said that a rising number of complaints in the region about housekeepers’ “inhumane” treatment spans from them not having specific rules about air conditioning use when they start their employment.

“There has been a lot of concern over the matter of whether a housekeeper did not ask her boss if she wanted to switch on the air conditioning,” Mr Lee told RTHK. “I think that there should be some house rules to let her know what she can and cannot do.”

He added that many migrant workers “come from hot, hot countries. I don’t know whether they are used to sleeping with the air conditioning on”.

Lee has previously spoken out about the authorities needing to do more to ensure that domestic workers’ rights are respected. In May, he proposed that the Immigration Department should conduct surprise home inspections or collect photographs of employers’ accommodation.

Hong Kong law stipulates that domestic workers, many of whom come from Southeast Asia, must live at their employers’ accommodation.

However, because contractual terms only specify that “suitable” accommodation should be provided, many employees find themselves living in unsatisfactory conditions.

According to the Hong Kong civil organisation Mission for Migrant Workers, some three out of every five domestic workers in Hong Kong are not provided with adequate accommodation, and one in 50 are forced to sleep in areas such as toilets, balconies or closets.

Image copyright
DALE DE LA REY/AFP

Image caption

Former Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih protests about migrant workers’ rights in Hong Kong

Reporting by Kerry Allen

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