Monday, 28 March 2016

On Korean firms in Myanmar

Are Korean-owned garment firms in Myanmar an exception, or are they reflective of a broader pattern?
South Korean-owned garment manufacturers in Myanmar are widely flouting labor law, with almost 30 percent of factories failing to observe overtime rules... factories wholly or jointly run by Korean firms regularly violate labor law, including a 16-hour weekly limit on overtime... 62 percent [of interviewed workers] reported not being able to refuse to work hours beyond the legal limit, while 63 percent said they did not make enough money to live comfortably. In addition, 15 percent of workers said they had worked extra hours without compensation. Thirty percent of workers reported receiving payslips in only Korean or English, in violation of the law, while just 22 percent said they could take advantage of their legal entitlement to 30 days of medical leave, according to the report released Friday. Just 67 percent of factories had legally-required emergency exits, a quarter of which were inaccessible... child labor is “prevalent,” but unquantifiable due to reticence among workers fearful underage workers could be fired if they spoke out... South Korean factories employ 37 percent of workers in Myanmar’s garment industry, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association. South Korea was responsible for 7 percent of all foreign investment in the Southeast Asian country in 2015.
"South Korean Firms Abusing Myanmar Workers: Report," The Diplomat, 25 March, 2016

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