Strike-hit Han Jen garment factory has flouted an order from local labour officials to take back workers it fired for striking. Daw Lwin Lwin Myint, deputy director of the Yangon Region Department of Labour and a member of the labour disputes arbitration council, told The Myanmar Times yesterday that the factory had notified the central arbitration council of its decision.
More than 1000 garment workers at the Shwe Pyi Thar, Yangon, factory, walked out in September after the factory slashed allowances following the introduction of the minimum-wage law. The workers complained the move left them up to 30 percent worse off.
Other factories took similar action after the introduction of the K3600 minimum wage in October, sparking off several labour disputes. “Han Jen said they would not comply with the district council order. Union chair Kyaw Kyaw Myint has also notified the tribunal that he is not satisfied with the order,” said Daw Lwin Lwin Myint.
Though most of the workers returned to work, the owners barred five union members, factory union chair Ko Kyaw Kyaw Myint said.
“The factory owner wouldn’t obey the council order. That should mean prison, but the penalty will be just K1 million, which they don’t care about,” he said, adding that the labour department had provided no conciliation services.
Contacted for comment, Han Jen manager Ko Phyu Htwe said he was travelling and was unaware of the latest developments.
“K3600 does not give us enough to eat,” said Ko Kyaw Kyaw Myint.