Hong Kong: Support the struggle of migrant workers

For international solidarity – fight back against capitalism! Demonstrate in support of migrant workers rights on Sunday 16 December

Sociaist Action (CWI Hong Kong) reporters

Hong Kong is paradise for the super-rich and hell for ordinary workers, especially domestic workers who do “3D jobs” – dirty, difficult and dangerous!


11am, Victoria Park, IMWU and Indonesian migrant organisations
1pm, Charter Garden, Central, FMWU and Filipino migrant organisations
3:15pm Govt Office, Admiralty, gathering for all groups

Suportahan ang pakikibaka ng mga migranteng manggagawa.
Para sa pandaigdigang pagkakaisa – laban sa kapitalismo!

Migrants face systemic discrimination and racism from the authorities, long work hours, low wages and poor protection. The government and political elite deliberately erect walls to separate migrant workers from the rest of the working class, to prevent their energetic struggles for a fair deal merging with Hong Kong’s mass protests for democratic rights, workers’ rights, and more spending on basic welfare provision.

“Motherless generation”

Socialist Action fights to build working class unity in struggle – against racism and capitalism. We support migrant workers’ demonstrations and activities today, in connection with International Migrants’ Day of the UN. Migrants face massive hardship as they are forced abroad to do menial work in order to support their families. Their numbers globally have shot up from 150 million in 2000, to 214 million today. This is leading to a growing “motherless generation” in countries like the Philippines, as working abroad becomes long-term rather than temporary. Migrants are therefore among the biggest losers from the global capitalist system, which is in deep crisis. While millions worldwide have been pushed below the poverty line, the billionaires have increased their fortunes.

Fight imperialism!

The governments in the Philippines, Indonesia and Nepal – like Hong Kong’s pro-rich administration – dance to the tune of the multinational companies and banks. Poorly paid and unprotected contract labour has exploded, replacing secure permanent jobs, in the Philippines, Indonesia and other Asian countries over the past two decades. Under the capitalist system, working conditions and real wages are everywhere driven downward as part of a ‘race to the bottom’ to increase the profits of the big companies. This is an international system where the super-rich “1%” rule undemocratically over the “99%”, especially the working class. Wealthier imperialist countries dictate policies to poorer countries, as happens all over Asia.

But in more and more countries workers are fighting back against this oppression. In Indonesia, new fighting unions have been formed in recent years. In October, 2.5 million Indonesian workers staged the biggest strike for decades, to demand increases in the minimum wage and a ban on contract labour. In Greece, Portugal and Spain, millions have taken part in general strikes against the austerity policies being pushed upon these countries by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Europe’s banks.

UN: Not on the side of workers

Socialist Action organises among workers in Hong Kong – of all nationalities – to strengthen this fight back, and to build support for a socialist alternative to capitalism and imperialism. Workers cannot put any trust in the UN, which is just a talking shop for the governments of the capitalist system. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon gets a salary of 146,700 HKD (US$18,937) per month and free housing! Like other capitalist politicians he has no idea about real life for the “99%”. To cover up the capitalists’ worldwide robbery, the UN tries to promote a ‘human face’ through agencies like the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and events like International Migrants’ Day (18 December). But the ILO showed its true colours when it played a strikebreaking role during the massive strike of 200,000 women textile workers in Cambodia in 2010 – pressuring the workers to end their strike and accept a bad offer, and to sign promises not to strike again!

Of course migrant workers should seize the chance to come together that 18 December provides, but to build our own organisations, without putting any faith in the UN to fight on our side. We must trust only in our own power of organisation, and not let the UN decide which demands should be put forward. We must fight for democratic control over our trade unions, with elected representatives only on an ordinary workers’ wage, to truly reflect the demands of grassroots workers and migrants.

HK Suppor Migrant Workers 1
IMWU members protest at Hong Kong government buildngs

For $40 minimum wage – no discrimination

Hong Kong’s minimum wage will be increased to the still very low level of 30 HKD per hour next year. We call for the minimum wage to be raised to 40 HKD per hour, and for unions to fight for this, following the example of Indonesian workers, by preparing for a one-day strike of grassroots Hong Kong workers around this demand. Socialist Action demands that the minimum wage legislation cover all workers including migrants. If we stand back while the government makes second class citizens of any one group – migrants, women or young workers – this will be turned against all workers and used to undermine and defeat our struggle.

Fight racism!

Socialist Action therefore fights for full democratic rights and legal protection for migrants and for all workers – the right to join a union, to strike, the right of abode for those that want it – and a struggle for decent working hours and wages. We say get the vampire recruitment agencies with their massive illegal fees off the backs of migrant workers. The only way to eliminate the criminal practices of the agencies is for the Hong Kong government to take them into public ownership, to be run democratically, with no charges imposed on migrants.

Socialist Action together with Youth Against Racism also actively opposes the racist smear campaign of the Hong Kong government and media directed against migrants, mainlanders, and others, which has the aim of dividing and weakening the struggle for workers’ rights including democratic rights. We fight for women’s rights and against all forms of national, religious or sexual discrimination.

Socialist Action, which is still a new force in the Hong Kong workers’ movement (not yet three years old), campaigns for a new workers’ party with a mass membership and a socialist alternative. Together with like-minded parties organised in the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) we fight to overthrow capitalism and imperialism.

Capitalism must go!

We stand for full and immediate democratic rights and an end to one-party rule in China and over Hong Kong. But this must be linked to the struggle to break the power of the capitalist “1%” over the economy – to take the major companies and banks into democratic public ownership and use this to plan for real jobs, equal pay for women and migrants, cheap housing, and massively expanded public services. Socialist Action and the CWI play an active part in today’s immediate struggles, but we also link these issues to the need for a root-and-branch change of society. Working people democratically owning and running the economy – this is what socialism means.

IF YOU AGREE with our socialist viewpoint – join Socialist Action. We hold meetings every Friday and Sunday evening in Hong Kong, and the meetings are in Chinese and English. At these meetings we hear from socialists and worker activists from around the world, as well as planning our campaign activities and making sure the voice for working class internationalism gets stronger!

For information:

TEL Sally 94189988    •    EMAIL [email protected]