a recent headline in the south china morning post spoke of a new hk$80 pay rise in the minimum wage for domestic helpers, the majority of whom are filipinas. what gets me about the article is the part where “bosses cry poor”. to put this into perspective, this article notes that the current wage is still lower than the pre-SARS level of about US$475, and the current rise is equivalent to about US$10. per month. that’s a 2.4% pay rise in salary. when you add in the fact that most of the domestic helpers are sending home close to 90% of their salaries in the form of remittances, the “it’s not fair” claim doesn’t seem to cut it.

i’m still trying to figure out the justifications for a dual class system – i guess you might have a similar effect in the US with illegal immigrant wages – but here the government is openly supporting the wage differential.

n.b. – i may be a little biaised in my mentality here for obvious reasons.