Sunday, 2 November 2014

Myanmar workers' struggles (Sept - Oct 2014)

"Myanmar police officers injured freeing hostages in factory rally," 17 Sept. 2014.

"Nine Myanmar police officers were injured as they sought to free officials held hostage by dozens of angry workers demanding wages and compensation after their factory was shuttered, authorities said on Thursday (Sep 18). More than 150 former staff descended on the Master Sport shoe facility on the outskirts of Yangon on Tuesday, demanding payment following the closure of the South Korean-owned factory in June... Kyaw Kyaw Tun, assistant director of the labour ministry's factories department, said five government officials arrived hoping to defuse the situation, but were promptly taken hostage by the workers. "They (workers) said they had been waiting so long and that they wouldn't let them go if they didn't get their salaries by the end of this month. But they didn't harm them," he told AFP."

"Scores injured after police ‘rescue’ official from workers," Myanmar Times, 22 Sept. 2014.

"Clashes between police and angry workers occupying a shoe factory led to nearly 60 casualties on September 16, according to eyewitnesses. The police said they were trying to free members of a government mediation team who apparently feared for their safety while negotiating with the workers.... “The workers were trying to detain the director general inside the factory compound, rejecting the implementing of compensation procedures.”
Police Major Chit Oo insisted that his officers had conducted the raid in line with international standards and training on crowd management supported by the European Union. He said workers had thrown plastic bottles of drinking water and beat the police with bamboo sticks, and the police had defended themselves with their shields. “I was hit with a wooden stick,” he said. “We did not attack the workers. Some workers might have been injured because of broken glass and iron sheets – we were wearing boots, but the workers were not. We were just trying to rescue the director general.”

"After Months, Hundreds of Garment Workers Receive Overdue Pay," 17 Oct. 2014

"Some 750 laid-off workers of the closed down South Korean Master Sports factory in Rangoon received their unpaid salaries and severance pay from the Ministry of Labor on Friday, after it auctioned off the property of the factory last week... Tens of thousands of workers are employed in labor-intensive industries at 14 industrial zones around Burma’s commercial capital. Garment and footwear factories are the biggest industrial employers, with about 100,000 workers total.

Domestic labour and industrialization updates

Updates on domestic labour and industrialization issues: