Working Poor - in the eyes of uni-students CIP program 07 June 2016
It had been a truly mind-provoking experience of having people from different labor unions with us today at HKCTU. Before I attended the program, I never paid attention to the naked truth of low-skilled workers being exploited but only the superficial side of them protesting and fighting for their rights all the time. However, as the one who may have the ability to turn our home city into a better place with equality, equity and social justice, we should really get into the society by occasions like today’s program. I learnt to distinguish between independent trade unions and yellow unions and the vital functions of having trade unions, which they utilize the concerted effort of workers to help individual ones negotiate with their employers and conglomerates on issues like working hours, working conditions and wages, protect their labor rights and prevent them from being exploited.
During the discussion session, I had a chance talking to a Filipino domestic helper Sheila. I had been quite familiar with the work of domestic helpers since my parents hired one to take care of me when I was small. To me, not letting them use their phones at work or requiring them to prepare breakfast before they leave on holiday might be normal since my parents paid them to do so. However, now I realised I treated my maid as the inferior one, which I did not actually enjoy this kind of so-called privilege since domestic helpers should share the same rights with other labor. What is more, as migrant workers, they even have the difficulty of adapting a new culture, and face the reality of leaving their own families and being discriminated in a place far away from their hometowns. Coming to work in Hong Kong all the way from their home is not an easy decision and they have to sacrifice a lot. Employers should treat their domestic helpers as if they are a part of the family and let them feel care even in an unfamiliar workplace.
It was nice to get in touch with the working poor. The program reminds me to appreciate their work and efforts contributed to the development of our society.