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Hong Kong, one in every of world’s priciest cities, raises minimal wage to $5

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Hong Kong labor teams are pushing again in opposition to a 32-cent increase within the minimal wage, the primary in 4 years, which they are saying isn’t sufficient in one of many world’s costliest cities.

The federal government has elevated the minimal wage by 2.5 Hong Kong {dollars} to 40 Hong Kong {dollars}, or by 32 cents to $5.10 per hour.

The rise took impact on Could 1, which is Labor Day in lots of elements of the world. Secretary for Labor and Welfare Chris Solar framed the increase as a celebration of employees, who he stated are foundational to Hong Kong society. The federal government has “all the time been dedicated to defending labor rights and pursuits,” he wrote on Facebook.

Labor teams say that the increase fails to maintain up with the rising price of dwelling over the previous 4 years.

“In impact, employees’ wages have been lower in actual phrases,” Aidan Chau, a researcher at China Labor Bulletin, wrote in an e mail to The Washington Publish. Chau stated he expects minimum-wage employees might be “hit exhausting by this adjustment charge,” which he says doesn’t account for inflation or pandemic losses.

The Hong Kong Labor Rights Monitor wrote on Fb: “What can HK$40 purchase? A McDonald’s meal? Some pork? One-sixteenth of a Disneyland ticket?”

Hong Kong is the fourth costliest metropolis on the earth, in line with the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2022 Worldwide Cost of Living report — tied with Los Angeles and pricier than San Francisco. Like its pricey friends, town has struggled with affordability, gaining a repute for hovering housing prices and cramped dwelling quarters.

A 750-square-foot apartment on the personal market in Kowloon, essentially the most populous a part of town, rents for a median of about HK$25,000 per thirty days, or greater than $3,000, in line with calculations primarily based on authorities information from April.

In the meantime, the typical wait time for public housing within the metropolis is more than five years. Some Hong Kongers have turned to rooftop huts with no air con within the tropical summer season, “cage houses” or subdivided residences, areas which are about 50 sq. ft per individual.

The variety of registered avenue sleepers has greater than doubled within the final 10 years, the South China Morning Publish reported, citing a authorities audit.

Climate change in Hong Kong worsens housing crisis for city’s poor

An appeal for wage increases, signed in late April by greater than a dozen grass-roots organizations in Hong Kong, famous that Hong Kong’s wage coverage lags behind friends corresponding to Taiwan and South Korea, which have greater minimal wages.

The organizations write that minimum-wage employees are compelled to reside in a “precarious” place and haven’t benefited from the “fruits of financial growth.” Additionally they name on the federal government to reevaluate the minimal wage yearly, slightly than each two years. The Labor and Welfare Bureau stated Monday that it plans to submit a report on the state of the evaluation course of in October. The bureau didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The vast majority of minimum-wage earners are “elementary employees,” which embody cleaners, safety guards, retail and catering employees, in line with the federal government.

Hong Kong’s more than 300,000 overseas home employees, largely girls from the Philippines and Indonesia, are employed on a separate scheme. Final October, their minimal month-to-month wage was raised to 4,730 Hong Kong {dollars}, or $600, which is paid on prime of meals and board.

Hong Kong’s labor motion has been hampered by political strain from Beijing. Protests and demonstrations have been restricted since 2020 in Hong Kong, a particular administrative area of China.

Earlier this 12 months, a march planned by the Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association was canceled. An annual Could Day march was also called off after one of many organizers was questioned by the police, who cited the national security law, in line with Radio Free Asia.

Joyce Lau contributed reporting.

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