Friday, August 18, 2017

Business hours: Yuzana Plaza dispute resolved

Government labour inspectors have helped resolve a dispute between the owners of Yuzana Plaza and ground-floor shopkeepers about keeping their stores open seven days a week.

Two women walk past shuttered ground floor shops at Yuzana Plaza on March 25. (Aung Htay Hlaing/The Myanmar Times)Two women walk past shuttered ground floor shops at Yuzana Plaza on March 25. (Aung Htay Hlaing/The Myanmar Times)

The problem arose when Yuzana Plaza owner U Htay Myint announced on February 16 that the plaza would open every day. Shopkeepers on the ground floor, who want every Monday off, objected.

Yuzana Plaza ground-floor shopowner Daw San San Win told The Myanmar Times: “U Htay Myint wants to open the plaza every day, but we want to close every Monday as usual. We urged the plaza administration office to close as usual. We didn’t even know about this announcement beforehand, and we disagree.”

Shops on the upper four floors of the Mingalar Taung Nyunt wholesale centre are open every day. The ground-floor merchants own their shops, but those on the upper floors rent them from the plaza.

U Kyaw Yee Aye, a staff officer from the Yangon Region General Labour Law Inspection Department, told The Myanmar Times: “The shop owners, Yuzana U Htay Myint, [Pyithu Hluttaw representative] for Mingalar Taung Nyunt Daw Phyu Phyu Thin, and officials from the inspection department met [on March 20] to solve the problem. After about three hours of discussion, we reached two agreements.”

As of April 22, the plaza will close every second Monday. The second agreement is that before Thingyan festival the owners will improve security at the plaza.

To save upper floor shopowners from losing a day of income every fortnight, U Htay Myint has promised to install external access, said Ko Nyein Chan, who sells bags on the third floor.

“If so, the ground floor shopowners can close their floor. We [upper floor shopkeepers] can open each day if the bridge is constructed. But at the moment we agree to close on Mondays,” he said.

When Yuzana Plaza opened in1998 it opened daily, but from 2009 it started to close every Monday according to the labour laws.

U Kyaw Aye Yee said ground-floor shopowners feared that if the plaza opened on their off-day to give access to the shops on the upper floors, their premises might be burgled.

Daw San San Win said that most of the ground-floor shops are wholesalers. “Our staff are tired. If we get Monday off, we feel fresh and energetic.”

At Yuzana Plaza, there are 1064 shops at the ground floor, and about 750 on the upper four floors. Include the shops in the two parking lots, it has more than 2000 outlets.

U Htay Myint is a well-known businessman who owns Yuzana Company and is a member of the Pyithu Hluttaw for Myeik, representing the Union Solidarity and Development Party.