Saturday, July 28, 2007
East Asia remained the second biggest home to OFWs; two out of 10 (22.6%) OFWs worked either in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, while almost one out of 10 (9.9%) worked in our neighboring Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore."
Friday, July 27, 2007
OFWs in Taiwan: ‘Pay hike not 75% but only 7.5 to 9.5%’ - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos
At the same time, in an e-mail to INQUIRER.net, Gi Estrada, Taiwan coordinator of the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, said the wage hike does not cover migrant household service workers, who get between only 38 to 76 percent of the current minimum wage.
“The proposed increase in the minimum wage that would be implemented on July 1 would be only between 7.5 to 9.5 percent,” Estrada said.
Baldoz late last month announced the increase to the average US$400 to US$700 (around P18,850 to P33,000) monthly salary of migrant workers in Taiwan.
“Household workers contribute a lot in rendering services to the Taiwan community and society. [They] relieve…the government and even the families of those who need to be taken care of, [of] their responsibility to do this task. Household workers also liberate other members of Taiwanese families from this heavy work to join the working force or in pursuit of other activities. These workers also contribute in consumer spending that is go"
OFW Survey Guestbook - An Interview with Overseas Filipino Workers
"What could be the undesirable effects when working abroad to you and to your family left back home: first is that you always have to face the discrimation when you are working abroad,'coz no matter how good your education is mababa pa din ang tingin nila sa mga foreign workers like us ofw's.second is that i can't be able to raise my kid on my own,i can't be able to see all the changes that's happening to him everyday."
Migrant Group Assessed POEA Policy Reforms as a Failure | Bulatlat: "Seven months since the implementation of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Guidelines, the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) assessed that it was nothing but “a show-off.”
The POEA policy reforms were instituted to supposedly provide Filipino household service workers (HSWs) a cover of protection from potential abuse and exploitation abroad.
Under the new guidelines, those applying as domestic helpers abroad had to undergo additional training under POEA’s Pre-Qualification for Household Service Workers scheme. The training would cost them P10, 000-P15, 000 ($218 - $327 at an exchange rate of $1=P45.75). Aside from this, the guideline sets the minimum wage of overseas domestic workers to $200 to $400. It also stipulates that no placement fee should be charged to applicants, but limits the minimum age to 23 years old."
EXPORT PROCESSING ZONES: PAST AND FUTURE ROLE IN TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
In their recently released pastoral letter, the church leaders also asked local Catholics to treat migrant workers fairly.
Migration is a way people can improve their standard of living, the bishops note in the document, 'Concern for Migrant Workers and Immigrants,' released May 16. In Asia, however, migrant workers usually are not allowed to become permanent residents in their host country, they observe, saying this infringes on human rights.
Father John Chen Kun-chen, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Taiwan, told UCA News May 22 that the pastoral letter encourages parishioners in Taiwan's seven dioceses to regard migrants as their neighbors."
Gopez said that Taiwan electronics companies are keen to hiring Filipino workers due to their English-speaking ability."
This added prohibitions on employers discriminating against job applicants on account of their age, sexual orientation or place of birth to Article 5 of the ESA, which already precluded workplace discriminations on the basis of race, class, language, thought, religion, political party, place of origin, gender, marital status, appearance, facial features, disability or previous membership of a labor union....
The amendment also revised a number of regulations dealing with foreign workers in Taiwan. One major change means that employers can now apply to hire a new foreign worker just six months after a previous worker leaves without notifying the employer. This would be especially helpful for employers of foreign caregivers, the CLA Web site stated. Around 400 foreign caregivers leave each month without informing their employers, the China Times report quoted the CLA as saying, citing the council's statistics that 9,500 foreign workers were reported missing last year."
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
According to the Foreign Labor Service Center, the majority of the foreign workers in Taipei City work as care givers for the elderly or small children. Many of these workers work long hours and have very little time for a social life. Worse, many foreign workers are exploited in terms of working conditions. For example, some workers are forced to work overtime and only allowed one day off per month."
For many years, an understanding existed between the government and the unions in Taiwan that the number of foreign workers imported into the island should not exceed 300,000; however, the rapid rise in the number of foreign healthcare workers has cut deeply into the share of foreign workers in the manufacturing sector. In 2006, after many years of complaints by employers within the labor-intensive industries, as well as threats to relocate their production facilitates to mainland China, the government finally divided foreign workers into two broad categories, production workers and service workers. The government then reinterpreted its promise of no more than 300,000 foreign workers to be imported for employment within the manufacturing sector, whilst all healthcare service workers were explicitly excluded from this overall quota. In January 2006, the government also gave the green light to the importation of an additional 20,000 overseas production workers for employment within the category of ‘dirty, dangerous and difficult’ (3D) jobs, those jobs that had become difficult to fill with native workers.
Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan | International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS)
The riot brought to light the uncomfortable reality for many Taiwanese that the workers from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam who build Taiwan's infrastructure, assemble its electronic products and care for its elderly were often forced to live in cramped dormitories with strict house rules and curfews.
It also shone a torch on the politicians and businessmen who for years enriched themselves by controlling the brokerage system that brings workers in from south-east Asia."
Foreign workers in Taiwan protest exclusion in wage hike - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos
Migration News Vol. 14 No. 3, July 2007
The Council of Labor Affairs announced in May 2007 that the number of foreign workers allowed into the country would be based on the unemployment rate. There will be two categories of guest workers: foreign laborers for industry and workers in welfare service. Different rules will govern admissions of each type of worker. Migrant workers will be able to stay in the country up to nine years; the previous limit was six years.
Taiwan has established a quota of 391,926 foreign workers, but only 347,172 were in the country in May 2007.
Taiwan began to import foreign workers in 1989, giving one-year permits (renewable once) to manufacturing employers and for migrants hired for infrastructure construction projects. The 1992 Employment Service Act established the Council of Labor Affairs to determine Taiwan's foreign worker policy. The CLA required employers to prove that they needed to hire foreign workers by, for instance, advertising for local workers for at least one week.
The CLA limited guest workers to 30 percent of a firm's workers, and allowed initial entries for two years, with a one-year extension possible. Manufacturing firms seeking foreign workers were required to develop plans to reduce their need for foreign workers over time until 1997, when the"
Due to its proximity to other Southeast Asian countries, its comparatively robust economy, the low unemployment rate, and early development of ties in the global economy, Taiwan has come to be a destination for labor migrants. While it offers work which pays significantly more than positions in the sending countries, it also offers a difficult receiving context where work conditions are harsh and the opportunity for social integration is almost nonexistent.
By the early 1980s, many Filipinos had permanently emigrated to the US and other countries and nearly a half million labor migrants were working abroad as domestic servants, construction workers, skilled technicians, nurses, factory workers, and seafarers. The government of the Philippines, seeing the potential in remittances and reduction of unemployment, further encouraged labor migration as one of its official development strategies (Martin 1993; Aguilar 2000; Tan 2001).
Video 1: Atty. - Fr. Bruno - Stella Maris International Service Center
In 1982, the government established the POEA to promote and regularize a then mostly illegal labor migration. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, remittances from OFWs accounted for up to 9% of the GNP (Tan 2001; Migration News 1999). The Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan acts as the de facto consulate and provides labor and social welfare assistance to OFWs while in Taiwan.
Video 2: Atty. Salud - Labor Atache MECO Kaohsiung
The rationalized global system of production constantly searches for the most cost-effective ways to produce goods. This has meant moving production to locations where labor costs are the cheapest. Undeniably, this is how Taiwan’s economy was able to grow so rapidly during the late twentieth century. Today, however, Taiwan is faced with the dilemma of either moving companies to China, Vietnam, Malaysia, or other developing nation, or reducing their own domestic labor costs. Taiwan has opted to import laborers from other Southeast Asian countries in order to costs down. These workers, paid far less than their Taiwanese co-workers, are often given the longest shifts, assigned to the most difficult tasks, and are segregated from the society in factory -controlled dormitories. Migrant laborers are unlikely to quit (due to the high fees they have already paid to work).They are not allowed to form unions and have no bargaining position in labor negotiations (neither directly or indirectly through proxies). According to a survey of 389 workers that I conducted in NanTze, one-third had experienced some problem with their employer. The top three problems involved unpaid overtime, “unreasonable” workloads, and overtime paid as days off.
Video 3: Factory Workers in Taiwan
Unlike factory workers, the domestic workers and caretakers in Taiwan are seldom allowed to leave the homes of their employers. They do not have the close contact with other co-nationals that the factory workers have in the dorms, clubs, church gatherings, social times after work and even at the workplace. Fr. Ciceri explains: “ As soon as they arrive, they are taken into the house of the employer, and practically they become property of, ah, of the employer. And, ah, if they are lucky enough and the employer understands them, they will allow them to, to have at least a day-off once a month, or every Sunday if the employer is very good.”
Issues facing domestic workers include: long work days and poor working conditions; lack of rest breaks, vacations and days-off; lack of payment; lack of overtime pay; as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Yet, as a result of their isolation, few studies have been done to gauge the overall prevalence of these conditions. In Taiwan, the limited research that has been done focuses on domestic workers who have escaped or runaway from their employers as the result of mistreatment.
Filipinos only represent a third of all the imported laborers in Taiwan. While Filipinos dominate the electronics sector, there are many Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesians working in construction, in small privately-owned factories, and as domestic workers.
Filipino migrants in Taiwan, experiencing xenophobia and racial discrimination, look to one another for protection and mutual support, forming a transnational enclave within the Taiwanese society. Formal institutions (churches, businesses, and NGOs) have provided the core of this transnational enclave in Taiwan. These institutions reinforce the Filipino laborer’s sense of ethnic and national identity and providing a social and physical space in which they may continue to perform homeland culture.
Each of the institutions has played a role in this maintenance of culture. Business, often operated by the Filipina spouses of Taiwanese men, provide Philippine products, food, and communications services. Pseudo-governmental NGOs like MECO provide formal legal services and help to arbitrate issues with the Taiwanese government or employers on behalf of Filipino citizens. Yet, the churches (and principally the Catholic Church’s worldwide network of ministries for OFWs) provide the ultimate sense of solidarity and connectedness with the homeland.Video 6: St. Joseph the Worker Parish in NanTze, Taiwan