There are domestic workers in Hong Kong who seem to be living a dangerous life.
A picture of a woman cleaning a window on the ledge of a high-rise got the attention of the Internet recently.
The pic was posted by another domestic worker Rochen Monte. She works in an opposite apartment and says she doesn’t know the other woman personally, but she often sees her cleaning the outside windows of the apartment. In Monte’s post, she said she can hardly watch when the woman is doing her daring cleaning.
According to Coconuts Hong Kong, “three domestic workers fell to their death while cleaning windows in 2016.” This prompted the Labor Department to introduce rules saying workers are not allowed to clean the exterior of windows on high-rise apartments above the ground floor. The guidelines say the workers’ contract should include this rule and they can only clean outside windows if it has a grill fitted over it.
Some critics think the rules don’t do enough.
According to a spokesman from the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body, workers cleaning the outside of windows is “still quite rampant,” mainly because employers who don’t observe the rules don’t face criminal charges. “In the case of Singapore, they made it a criminal offense with fines and prison terms,” the spokesman said. “[In Hong Kong] there is no penalty clause in the contract that defines the accountability, liability and penalty for those who will violate it. So there is really not much of a deterrent.”
A spokesperson for the Labor Department said they are doing more to make sure foreign domestic workers know their rights. Hopefully, that’ll decrease the scary actions and images people witnessed above.