Monday, 15 August 2016

NLD's economic "blueprint" and income inquality in Myanmar

"The increasing polarity in this country needs to be tackled immediately, especially between the rich and poor, as the gap between them has been growing. If it's not tackled, it could derail our long-term  quest for democracy," said Maung Maung Lay.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Gov responses to allegations of "legal human trafficking"

Migrant rights activists who accused the government of operating a “legal” human trafficking pipeline must face punishment for speaking out of line, Thai and Myanmar labour officials have said. The two rights groups, the Myanmar Association in Thailand (MAT) and the Aid Alliance Committee for Myanmar workers (AAC), last week compared the formal, sanctioned channels for sending Myanmar labourers overseas via memoranda of understanding to exploitative human smuggling rings.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Migrant labour MoU as “legal human-trafficking”

Thailand and Myanmar must agree on a migrant worker system that does not functionally result in “legal human-trafficking”, activists said at a press conference last week.

The remark ignited a scuffle with owners of overseas employment agencies who disputed allegations that their business model is barely a cut above black-market human smugglers’.

Privatisation and its discontents

Workers from an agriculture machinery factory at 9 Mile in Yangon Region staged a protest against the Young Investment Group Industry Co Ltd (YIG) yesterday morning, claiming the company had fired nearly all of its employees without cause.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Labour law reform in "democractic" Myanmar

The government has largely put labour reform on the backburner at a time when worker rights advocates say there’s an urgent need to improve dispute settlement procedures. THE first crackdown on protesting workers under the National League for Democracy government occurred less than two months after it assumed power.

Private funding for industrial zone infrastructure?

Yangon Region government is to call on private industry to fund an upgrade of Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone to serve as a pilot project for the nation... “The government wants to upgrade industrial zones in Yangon, starting in Hlaing Tharyar as a pilot project,”... He believes the government intends to put the development plan out to tender, inviting private companies to develop the necessary infrastructure.“

Monday, 1 August 2016

Official position on Thailand's migrant crackdown

"Department head Mr Arak Prommanee urged employers to bring their employees to register before the expiry of the deadline, warning that, after that, labour inspectors will start checking work places to find out if any of them are harbouring illegal workers. Employers will face a maximum fine of 100,000 for having one illegal migrant worker and illegal migrant workers will face a maximum jailterm of five years and/or a fine of between 2,000-100,000 baht."
"Over one million foreign migrant workers are expected to register with Labour Ministry," Pattaya Mail

Another reactionary editorial on migrant labour in Thailand

A reactionary editorial, useful only as a point of reference, blaming migrants and calling for tighter restrictions and the mass expulsion of those lacking documentation:
"...there are plenty of non-registered or illegal migrant workers out there. What complicates matters is the Thai government's relaxation of the country's labour regulations, which started in 2009 to allow migrant workers who previously entered Thailand illegally to go through the registration process... the dearth of limitations on the numbers of migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar and the lack of clarity about job classifications allowed for migrant workers could undermine the management... The government should end the relaxation of Thai labour regulations for illegal migrant workers... Thailand should send back existing illegal migrant workers to their countries."
"End Thailand's relaxed labour laws," Bangkok Post, 27 July 2016

On Thailand's migrant "pink card" crackdown

"With the deadline to register for temporary work permits swiftly approaching, migrant workers in Thailand say they are being subjected to a rash of police raids.  Undocumented workers from Myanmar – as well as Laos and Cambodia – have been told they must register for the work permits by July 29, or face deportation. The pink cards allow the workers a two-year reprieve, a window during which their home countries are tasked with verifying nationality and providing longer-term documents, such as passports.  The scheme has been favoured by Thailand’s military junta, and was first rolled out in 2014 in a stated effort to curb human trafficking. But the current iteration differs by requiring Myanmar nationals with temporary passports set to expire to also register.  Workers dislike the program as it leaves them vulnerable to arrest or, more frequently, police round-ups where they are forced to pay a bribe. 

Myanmar workers protest selection of Labour Arbitration Tribunal members

"Workers vow to mobilise 1,000 supporters in a protest on July 24, where they will voice dissatisfaction over the selection process of a tribunal council's members. “We are going to protest on July 24 with 1,000 people in front of (Yangon) City Hall,” said a factory worker Hla Hla. Workers' groups hosted a press conference on July 20, fuming about the lack of transparency of the selection process. On July 8, employee representatives were chosen to the tribunal council. However, half of them represented the Federation of Labour Unions [CTUM?], which was the only workers' group invited to the selection by the Ministry of Labour. “There are thousands of labour groups in Myanmar. However, they did not invite all groups and only announced the selection plan through Sky Net and newspapers. This did not reach all employees,” said Aung Thu, a labour affairs leader. Aside from the protest, the groups plan to file their complaints to the government, rights groups and political parties. Naw Aung from the Myanmar Industrial and Commercial Federation also criticised the voting system.
"Labour tribunal under fire over representatives," Eleven Media, 22 July 2016