EPA/CARMO CORREIA

Domestic workers report cases of labour exploitation

Domestic worker associations in Macau have reported cases of labor exploitation to Lusa, ranging from wage cuts to the obligation to stay at employers’ homes since exceptional measures were taken due to the new coronavirus.

In addition to the reduction in agreed wages and the obligation to stay at employers’ homes in unworthy conditions, domestic workers report an increasing number of other cases that constitute labor exploitation, after the Government has closed practically all commercial spaces, cultural and sporting activities and to have sent thousands of workers and students home.

The president of the Green Union of Migrant Workers of the Philippines in Macau added that the organization has already advanced with inquiries among female workers (mainly Filipino) to detail the nature of the complaints.

The intention, explained Nedie Taberdo, is to exert pressure later on to the Macau authorities, especially to the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), to protect workers’ labour rights.

The president of the Progressive Union of Domestic Workers of Macau, Jassy Santos, added other ‘mishaps’ to the rights of domestic workers: dismissals, overtime without payment and the fact that masks or disinfectants are not made available to female workers, forced to stay at the employers’ house without the right to a room or even a bed.

Macau currently has nine infected people, who may be discharged in the next few days, according to the authorities, who have already underlined the fact that no more cases have been identified for five consecutive days.

The authorities of the former territory administered by Portugal adopted a series of exceptional measures, which included the closing of casinos, the sending of civil servants home and the suspension of classes, forcing many children and young people to stay in their homes.

The measures have practically paralyzed the economy, with private employers also sending workers home, many of them also guaranteeing work at a distance.

Chinese authorities today raised to 908 dead and 40,000 more infected the balance of the pneumonia outbreak in mainland China caused by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) detected in December in Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province.

On Sunday, according to data released by the National Health Commission of China, 97 deaths were recorded in mainland China and 3,000 new cases of infection were detected.

The total number of deaths amounts to 910, counting the two recorded outside mainland China, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.

The balance surpasses that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which between 2002 and 2003 killed 774 people worldwide, most of them in China, but the mortality rate remains lower.

In addition to mainland China and the Chinese regions of Macau and Hong Kong, there are more than 350 confirmed cases of contagion in 25 countries. In Europe, the number reached 39 on Sunday, with two new infections detected in Spain in the United Kingdom.

An international mission of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) left for China on Sunday.

The WHO, which declared an international public health emergency on 30 January, indicated on Saturday that the contagion cases revealed daily in China are stabilizing, but stressed that it was too early to conclude that the epidemic has reached its peak.