Thursday, 23 August 2012

Corporate social responsibility in Myanmar?

An article by Ethical Corporation:
Though official statistics do not always match with media reports, there are three special economic zones in Burma and 18 industrial zones. Most public sources agree there are nearly 300 garment factories and as many as 100,000 workers in that sector alone... As one Japanese bank staffer puts it: “Labour costs are cheap and people are hardworking, but its social infrastructure is extremely poor.” ... Social auditors visiting factories in the last few years have similar stories. “One factory was not cooperative at all – when we uncovered a report of physical abuse, the audit was aborted and we were kicked out,” says Jeraporn Rothorn, an auditor. Other auditors indicate that workers were afraid to speak with their employers about labour issues and, at the time, were not allowed to have trade unions in the workplace. While the trade union laws are changing, along with many other things in Burma, it may take time for labour practices to improve. Companies rushing from China or the labour unrest in Bangladesh may find a new set of challenges awaiting in Burma.

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