Sunday, 11 August 2013

Eleven Media: Myanmar workers face discrimination at Dawei SEZ project

Eleven Media reports on wage differentials at the Dawei SEZ:
Local workers have been facing discrimination while working at the Dawei Special Economic Zone project compared to Thai workers, local workers say.
"We are always facing discrimination one way or another in the workplace. As for the salary, a Myanmar worker only receives 5,500 kyats per day while a Thai worker receives over 20,000 kyats per day even for a driver. We are doing the same work, but the salary difference is very high," said Ko Saw, a local worker from the Dawei project.
"We have to work from 7 am to 5 pm. The overtime pay is 1,000 kyats per hour. We have to work overtime almost every day.
Myanmar workers in Thailand get 300 bahts (10,000 kyats) so we want our salaries to be around that figure. When we receive our salaries, our overtime hours have disappeared," Ko Saw said.
Ko Saw also said local workers living at the workers' housing have to pay for electricity and water charges while the Thai workers are exempted from paying.
Zaw Hein, another worker from the Dawei project, also said Thai workers receive better facilities in their housing such as private bathrooms and air conditioners compared to local workers.
"The company hired a chef for the Thai workers and they get free meals but Myanmar workers don't receive any meal money," said Zaw Hein.
The company undertaking the project has to make contracts with Myanmar workers after three-month probation but has been neglecting to make contracts.
"I've been working here for nearly 2 years. The company is supposed to make a contract after completing my three-month probation, but they still haven't. I only receive over 4,000 kyats per day. I have to work from 6 am to 5 pm," said Zaw Hein.
"Thai workers speak rudely to Myanmar workers who don't understand Thai. They only don't dare to say them to those who understand Thai. Also, Myanmar workers are not given personal protective equipments for work safety," he added.
A local engineer only receives 150,000 kyats per month while a Thai engineer receives 20,000 bahts (600,000 kyats) per month as minimum salary, local workers say.
There are over 2,000 local workers and 1,000 Thai workers at the Dawei Special Economic Zone project.
Local workers say the authorities fail to take actions against Thai workers when the local workers submit their complaints.
The Dawei Special Economic Zone is being developed by the Italian-Thai Development Company, but it will pull out of the project after the contract period is over due to financial difficulties.

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