Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Myanmar workers' struggles in Mae Sot, Phuket and Myanmar

Recent workers' struggles in Thailand and Myanmar:

"Myanmar Embassy Official visits Phuket over allegations of workers’ rights violations," Phuket Gazette, 26 March 2014

"Mae Sot migrants demand labour rights," Democratic Voice of Burma, 26 March 2014,
Nearly a thousand Burmese migrant workers staged a rally outside their garment factory in northern Thailand, calling for improved labour rights. Workers at the Thai-owned Yuan Jiou Garment Co Ltd in Thailand’s border town Mae Sot are striking over unpaid wages and long working hours. A factory worker told DVB they are punished for not keeping up with demands. “We have to work from 8 am until 10 o’clock at night and make 120 garments. If we cannot make them we are all scolded. If we can make 120 garments, they ask for 140 garments the next day,” he said. The minimum wage in Thailand is 300 baht (US$9) per day. However the migrant workers said they are not receiving that amount, and are forced to lie during inspections of the factory. “If we tell the truth, we are laid off from work,” another worker at the factory said. One worker said they get fined 200 baht (US$6) for taking sick leave or for attending family emergencies such as funerals. “If we ask for leave we don’t get it right away. We still have to work in the factory while we are sick,” said a migrant worker. “We have to jump through many hoops to get a signature for leave. There are many problems.” The workers are demanding they receive minimum wage plus overtime pay. They want adequate sick leave and financial help for those who are injured at work, and shorter working hours. The migrant workers have complained to the Thai Department of Labour Protection and Welfare but said they would continue with their protest, until their demands have been met.
"Wanbao workers walk off job for better pay," Eleven Media, 23 March 2014
Trainee graduates working for the Myanmar-Wanbao company refused to work on Saturday (March 22) and held out for twice as much pay. The company currently pays US$ 120 a month to both graduates and general workers. A total of 234 trainee graduates are demanding US$ 240 instead of the current amount and refused to sign an employment contract for US$ 120. “They are residents of 26 villages near the project area. Even a general worker gets US$ 110 in Yansi and a trucker whose education is only the eighth standard gets US$ 180,” said an employee from the company. One villager complained about nepotistic hiring practices at the company.

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