Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Myanmar government deadline for migrant passports

Mizzima reports on the Myanmar government's plans to extend the deadline for migrant passports:
Burma will extend the issuance of temporary passports for registered migrants in Thailand by the end of this year, according to Burmese local media. Since 2009, provisional passports have been issued to about 700,000 out of 2 million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. An estimated remaining 500,000 are undocumented, said 7-Day News. The passports are part of the process to allow Burmese migrant workers to work and travel legally in Thailand.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Thein Sein calls for minimum wage

Mizzima reports on U Thein Sein's recent statement about establishing a minimum wage and improving worker protections:
Burmese President Thein Sein on Monday outlined the government’s focus to provide a new minimum wage and its efforts to bring economic development to average workers in rural and urban areas... In his speech, Thein Sein said, "The basic need of every citizen is comprehensive health care as well as income security or in other words job security. This requirement calls for opportunities such as the access to education and social security. The government has been enacting new laws, amending the existing ones and revoking out-of-date laws as necessary to promote rights of workers and farmers and holding workshops on the establishment of a universal health insurance system for low-income rural people. We are in the process of enacting a law to fix minimum wage for workers to enjoy basic social rights they deserve."

Suu Kyi on investment and workers' rights

At a recent ILO meeting in Geneva, following Myanmar's readmission to the body, Suu Kyi gave her position on investment and workers rights in Myanmar.  As cited in The Irrawaddy:
"We need investments to be linked to job creation... We understand that investments are not altruistic … Investments must lead to profits, but we would like these profits to be shared with our people."
Reporting on this same speech, the BBC quote Suu Kyi as follows:
"I would like to call for aid and investment that will strengthen the democratisation process by promoting social and economic progress that is beneficial to political reform,"

Problems with the migrant passports

DVB reports on the corruption and overcharging among passport brokers in Mae Sot:
Agencies that have sprung up along the border in Mae Sot in recent months have been charging ten times the price for a one-year visa than what the government is asking. Burmese government officials have been charging inflated rates for issuing passports in a timely manner. Many of the impoverished migrant workers in Thailand are then left to borrow money to pay for their documents and are then forced to work for months, or years, to pay off their debts before they are able to send their hard-earned money back home to their families.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Rights and documentation of Myanmar migrants in Thailand

"Legal Burmese wait for court date," The Phuket News, 29 May 2012.

Eight Burmese immigrant workers who arrived in Thailand legally under the immigrant workers MoU signed by the Thai and Burmese governments are to go on trial on June 11 – charged with working without work permits.
"Thailand to extend registration system for migrant workers," The Jakarta Post, 5 June 2012.
A state committee on illegal migrant workers on Monday extended the nationality verification procedure for another six months, from June 14 to December 14. A resolution on this will be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration in two weeks... This was because Thailand had some two million workers from Myanmar, including 800,000 who were illegal (not registered) and needed to verify their nationality by June 14.
"Department of Labour to imporve legal protection for migrant workers," Pattaya Mail, 3 June 2012.

Strike wave in Myanmar

Further reporting as the strike wave continues among factory workers in Myanmar:

"Industry minister calls for trade union support," Mizzima News, 5 June 2012.
"In May 2012, 36,810 workers from 57 factories staged strikes asking for better wages and working conditions. Thirty-eight factories with more than 20,000 worker reached settlements, officials said."
"Workers embrace power to strike," Myanmar Times, 28 May - 3 June 2012.

"Eighteen strikes Yangon in May: activist," Myanmar Times, 28 May - 3 June 2012.

Myanmar migrants and Suu Kyi's visit to Thailand

A flurry of global media attention on Suu Kyi's recent trip to Thailand turned the international spotlight on Myanmar migrants in the country.  Here are just some of the relevant articles:

"Myanmar's migrant workers greet Suu Kyi in Thailand," Reuters, 30 May 2012.

"Suu Kyi visits migrant workers," 30 May 2012. 

"Suu Kyi Calls On Myanmar Workers In Thailand To Return Home," 31 May 2012.

"Burmese migrant workers dream of return home," CNN, 31 May 2012.

"Suu Kyi wants better deal for migrants," Bangkok Post, 1 June 2012.

"Suu Kyi demands better rights for Burmese migrants," DVB, 1 June 2012.

"Suu Kyi Presses for Migrants’ Rights in Thailand," The Irrawaddy, 1 June 2012. 

"Suu Kyi vows to protect migrant workers," Mizzima News, 21 May 2012.

"Suu Kyi concerned for Myanmar workers," Bangkok Post, 31 May 2012.