Saturday, May 27, 2017
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

350 garment workers go on strike

Over 350 garment workers from the Join-Profit garment factory Industrial Zone (3) of Hlaing Tharyar, launched a strike on May 17, asking for labour rights as factory officials had committed violations, say strike workers.

Workers protest outside their factory. Zaw Zaw Htwe / The Myanmar TimesWorkers protest outside their factory. Zaw Zaw Htwe / The Myanmar Times

 “We were not allowed to take any leave although it has been prescribed by labour law. Actually, we don’t even need to ask for this,” factory worker union’s secretary Ko Zaw Min told The Myanmar Times on May 18.

He also said that factory officials never allowed workers to take time off and always cut their salaries if they took time off. The workers also said that factory officials and the worker’s supervisor violated previous labour contracts which had been agreed upon in front of Labour Department officials. Although factory officials promised to treat workers well, they were instead often rude and impudent.  

So, all factory workers mounted the strike on May 17 with the request that factory officials follow labour laws and not violate previous agreements.

“We had to work over-time. We were very tired but we were not given the minimum daily wage. Factory officials refuse to increase our salaries,” factory worker Ma Tin Myo Wai, told The Myanmar Times yesterday.

She has been employed by the factory for the last four months and she was paid a daily wage of K1800  when she started working for the factory and now she is paid about K2700 daily.

“I had about K150,0000 as my salary and I had to work for more than 80 hours in a month (including overtime). Now my basic salary is (2700 daily wages) which cannot cover my expenses,” Ma Tin Myo Wai said. (the salary and calculation for how they have been short changed has not been clearly specified.)

She also said that she and one of her friends had to pay 50000 MMK for only an 8 square feet wide chamber room.

Strike workers have also asked factory officials to make an Employment Contract (EC) and to issue the social security welfare documents according to labour law.

They had also asked factory officials via the Tsp department of factories and general labour laws, to clarify the information on their pay slips and not cut off workers salaries without giving them enough reasons.

Factory officials made an announcement twice at the factory’s gated door on May 18 requesting that the workers get back to work.

The Myanmar Times and DVB reporters were invited to an interview with factory officials yesterday but after waiting for two hours they declined to meet the media.

 According to the 2013 minimum daily wage laws of Myanmar, an employer must pay a minimum daily wage of Kyat 3600MMK to each worker (including trainees and appointments on probation).