Friday, 9 November 2012

Myanmar, the last frontier?

Forbes reports on what some international investors believe to be "a great opportunity for investment and growth" in Myanmar.  The article has some useful statistics on the country's labour force:
The country has a labor force of 31.68 million, out of a population of 60 million. Unfortunately it’s unskilled with 70% employed in agriculture. Only 7% work in industry. While a low wage structure may attract manufacturers, the lack of skilled workers will limit scope to basic products. The country’s human capital is a key component to future growth. 25% of the population is below working age, and only 7.7% over the age of 65, this compares to China with 20% and 11.5% respectively. However “the country is the only developing Asian country with a defense budget greater than the education and health budgets combined.” [Asian Development Bank report] The government spends less that 2.0% of GDP on education and health.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Trafficked Burmese migrants released in Thailand

Democratic Voice of Burma reports:
Burmese nationals who were being forced to work long hours for little pay at a shrimp factory in Thailand’s Samut Prakan province were released after their trafficker was arrested in Burma.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Striking workers attacked in Yangon

The Irrawaddy (5 Nov 2012) reports:
Six striking workers from Taw Win carpentry factory, in Rangoon’s Shwepyitha Township, have been admitted to the city’s Insein Hospital after a brawl on Saturday.

Australia Calls for Higher Labor Standards in Burma

The Irrawaddy (2 Nov 2012) reports:
Australia’s government says Burma must do more to ensure that workers in the country are not exploited as international investors crowd in to take advantage of its newly liberalized economy. “You can’t have a successful economy where the workers are getting totally mistreated,” said Minister for Workplace Relations and Financial Services Bill Shorten, who has just completed a trip to Burma as head of a delegation of business and community leaders. According to a report by Radio Australia, Shorten also expressed concern about treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State.

Migrants poisoned by ‘generator fumes’

Phuket News (5 Nov 2012) reports:
One Burmese laborer is dead and four others are still in hospital after they spent the night guarding a construction site property, including a running generator in a closed room, police say... According to the police report, the generator was running in a room with no air circulation, and the windows and doors were closed. Police believe that a buildup of toxic fumes from the generator killed the man and seriously injured the four others.

Myanmar migrants in Malaysia

Bernama news (via The Malaysian Insider) provides statistics on the number of registered Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia.
As of last July, more than 1.58 million foreign workers were registered to work in the country, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today. He said the number represented those who were legally employed and had obtained a Visit Pass (Temporary Employment) as issued by the Immigration Department. “Indonesia tops the list of the five countries whose workers are registered to work in Malaysia, with 767,590, followed by Nepal (279,421), Myanmar (137,784), Bangladesh (134,148) and India (91,222) from India,” he said.