Monday, 3 September 2012

Soe Lin Aung on Workers in Dawei

Soe Lin Aung has a very informative and insightful piece over at New Mandala looking at the Dawei deep sea industrial port from a labour perspective. He concludes:
In other words, no shortcuts – just the daily hard work of local-level organizing and alliance-building, with ears to the ground. Thailand-based groups that work with migrant workers from Burma would do well to assist in this work, in Dawei and elsewhere in the country, as these organizations know what it means to open up spaces for organizing in difficult conditions. Admittedly the need for a labour-based approach in Dawei remains largely unrecognized; labour issues are considered peripheral to other approaches thus far. But as a project that remains, for now at least, something of a showpiece initiative for Burma’s liberalization process, Dawei may well set standards for years to come. It could also be read as a harbinger of sorts, a sign or symbol of broader trends in the region. The processes that Dawei represents – informalization of labour, expulsion of rural communities from their land, degradation of labour standards, the production of new surplus communities at the periphery of global capitalism – are signs of dark days to come for working people, in Burma as elsewhere. While the project is still relatively labour-intensive, now is the time for labour mobilization. With the stature of the project still intact, the repercussions could be tremendous.

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