Saturday, August 19, 2017

Settlement, apology ends strike at slipper factory

Some 600 disgruntled workers at the Myanmar DYC slipper factory in Mingaladon township ended their strike yesterday, after labour officials mediated a settlement and a Korean supervisor of the operation apologised for allegedly abusive conduct, according to the workers and a factory official.

Workers strike outside the Myanmar DYC slipper factory in Mingaladon township, Yangon Region. Photo: SuppliedWorkers strike outside the Myanmar DYC slipper factory in Mingaladon township, Yangon Region. Photo: Supplied

“We all made a contract agreement to obey nine points. We also acceded to the [demand of] workers to pay their wages for the striking days, although we didn’t need to pay according to law,” Ma Ju Jue, an assistant manager for the factory’s human resources department, said yesterday.

Workers told The Myanmar Times that they had forgiven the Korean supervisor, indentified as “Mr Lee”, because he had apologised for the abusive conduct he was accused of and promised the striking labourers that he would not treat them disrespectfully in future.

“All our disputes have been resolved suitably because the factory has acceded to all our demands. All workers are satisfied with [the apology and promise of] the Korean supervisor,” said Ko Sithu, a workers’ representative.

As part of the settlement, the factory has agreed to allow the Labour Department to take legal action against the Korean supervisor, should he revert to old form.

The factory also promised to honour its employees’ lunch break and would not restrict their movements in and out of the factory compound.

Past disputes between management and the workers are not to be litigated in future, according to the settlement, and going forward, the factory also pledged not to harbour any enmity toward its employees over their previous actions.

“We all have accepted obeying the contract agreement. Both sides will face action from labour officials if we violate the contract. We will have action taken against us if we protest again,” said Ko San Min Than, a machinist at the factory.

The 600 workers began their strike on November 12 after an employee who had quarrelled with the Korean supervisor was fired. The dismissal boiled over into broader anger about the Korean supervisor’s conduct toward his subordinates, who accused him of treating them poorly, including sexually harassing female employees.

Until yesterday, the striking workers had called for his sacking.

The Korean-owned Myanmar DYC slipper factory opened in 2014 and employs 1555 people, including administrative staff, according to factory officials.