Calls to restrict air con for Hong Kong’s home maids amid sweltering summer time temperatures had been dubbed inhumane by rights teams Friday, after a politician prompt helpers ought to get “used to the hot weather”.
The southern Chinese metropolis is dwelling to over 340,000 migrant home staff largely from the Philippines and Indonesia, however issues have grown over their welfare after a number of high-profile abuse instances.
The maids are required by legislation to stay with their employers which rights campaigners say makes it laborious for them to escape mistreatment.
One employer’s Facebook post went viral this week after she expressed outrage that her helper had switched on the air con in her room at night time with out permission, as temperatures topped 30 levels Celsius (86 levels Fahrenheit) with excessive humidity.
“I’m very angry,” the lady — recognized solely as Wong — mentioned, in accordance to a screenshot of the now deleted post on a closed group for Hong Kong employers of overseas helpers, revealed by Apple Daily newspaper.
Wong described her maid to be “audacious to the extreme”, and mentioned that she would take away the air con swap.
While she was broadly criticised by some residents, others supported her.
Politician Michael Lee, who heads a gaggle for employers of maids, mentioned in a radio interview that helpers ought to be accustomed to the climate as they got here from “hot, hot” international locations and referred to as on employers to set up agency home guidelines.
“If they come from the hot country, they should get used to the hot weather,” Lee later advised AFP.
He conceded that the temperatures of current weeks might imply helpers ought to be allowed air-con at night time, however solely to allow them to proceed in their family duties.
“Otherwise she can’t sleep, then she can’t work,” mentioned Lee, a district councillor and spokesman for the pro-business Liberal Party’s Taskforce on Foreign Helper’s Problems, which speaks for the employers of maids.
“I recommend all employers in Hong Kong set up house rules saying what they can and cannot do,” added Lee.
Campaigners for helpers’ rights mentioned limiting air con was “ridiculous, unfair and inhumane”.
“To regulate the foreign domestic helpers in using air conditioning is inhumane and will cause deterioration to their health,” mentioned former home helper Eni Lestari, spokeswoman for the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body.
Hong Kong made worldwide headlines after an employer was jailed for six years in 2015 for the horrific abuse of her former helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.
Rights teams have additionally criticised exploitative metropolis recruitment companies that extract exorbitant charges from migrants.
Campaigners have lengthy sought reforms, together with ending the “two-week rule” the place home staff should depart the town 14 days after they stop a job, until they will discover different employment inside that point.
They have additionally referred to as for the abolition of the “live-in” rule.
But to date the federal government has proven no indication it’ll loosen up the rules.