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Apparel (Garment) industry
including Clothing, Footware, Tanning and Leather goods

Individual Documents

Title: Child Labor in Myanmar’s Garment Sector
Date of publication: May 2016
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "‘Made in Myanmar’ is ready to make a comeback, with U.S. and EU markets newly re-opened for trade with Myanmar’s garment manufacturers. Buyers and investors are back in Yangon looking for opportunities, attracted in part by the country’s low labor costs. However, Myanmar has spent over a decade cut off from Western markets and the compliance culture that has evolved around social and environmental management of supply chains. Meeting buyer expectations now requires not only investing to meet higher requirements for speed and quality, but also ensuring that labor practices meet or exceed international standards. Child labor is a particular area of concern. In a country with high levels of poverty, low rates of secondary school enrollment, and weak enforcement of labor laws, child labor is unsurprisingly a common option for families in need of additional income. Underage workers (younger than 14, the legal minimum) are prevalent in many sectors, ranging from construction to teashops. What is a responsible buyer to do? So far, many buyers have chosen to limit their risk and exposure by working solely with established foreign-owned suppliers that already have years of experience adhering to supplier codes of conduct. These factories often require a minimum age for their workers of 16 or even 18, higher than the national legal requirement, which helps to reduce the risk of child labor in a country where age verification is difficult. While this may be an effective strategy for managing reputational risk, it ignores the broader context and real challenges of widespread poverty and scarce educational opportunities in Myanmar. It also neglects the potential for international investment and supply chains to contribute to a future where children in Myanmar spend their days in school, not in factories. And it overlooks the real risk that the use of child labor outside of responsible companies’ own supply chains will tarnish the “Made in Myanmar” brand. This report explains the context of child labor in Myanmar, both across sectors and specifically for garment manufacturing. Because there is no comprehensive data on the role of children in the garment sector, the findings are primarily based on interviews with key industry observers and participants. These findings include: » Young workers are participating in the garment sector but usually make up a small percentage of a factory’s workforce, and underage workers are rare. However, young workers are often working the same hours as adults, and laws regulating their working hours and conditions are not being enforced. » Increased access to U.S. and European markets is reshaping the garment industry, but the majority of factories are not yet selling to U.S. and European buyers, and their labor practices are lagging. As the garment manufacturing industry grows, the risk factors for child labor could change as well. The demand for low-cost labor will increase as new garment factories open. Other sectors of the economy are growing as well, heightening the competition for skilled workers. Meanwhile, new minimum wage BSR | Child Labor in Myanmar’s Garment Sector requirements are also affecting the profile of labor demand, and changes in industry structure could increase the risk of child labor if subcontracting and third-party suppliers become more common..."
Author/creator: Laura Ediger, Jeremy Prepscius and Chris Fletcher
Language: English
Source/publisher: BSR
Format/size: pdf (711K-reduced version; 1.1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.bsr.org/reports/BSR_Child_Labor_Myanmar_Garment_Sector_2016.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 June 2016

Title: UNDER PRESSURE - A Study of Labour Conditions in Garment Factories in Myanmar which are wholly Korean owned or in a Joint Venture with Korean Companies
Date of publication: March 2016
Description/subject: "This report is a fruit of a one year’s research work by a team of researchers, project staff and volunteers at Action Labor Rights (ALR), led by Thurein Aung (ALR), and with advice from Tin Maung Htwe (Data Analysis) and Carol Ransley. Action Labor Rights (ALR) had its beginnings in 2002 when young members of the National League for Democracy were working with the ILO to advocate for freedom of association and to abolish forced and child labour. In May 2007, six ALR members and more than 80 workers from Hlaingthaya, Shwepyitha and Dagon industrial zones were arrested after taking part in Labour Day celebrations at the US Embassy in Yangon. After their release from prison in January 2012, the activists decided to continue their activities as an organization, and formally established ALR in February 2012. Its activities include training workers on their rights and on labour laws, monitoring the practices of international sourcing companies, research and advocacy, and focusing on the rights of women workers. The research was made possible with support from the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) as part of their commitment to build capacity of Myanmar civil society working on business and human rights issues and to create knowledge for raising public awareness. However, the report’s findings and recommendations belong to ALR alone..." Action Labour Rights က ေရးသားသည့္ ဤအစီရင္ခံစာသည္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတြင္ တည္ရိွသည့္ အထည္ခ်ဳပ္စက္ရုံမ်ားအနက္ ကိုရီးယားႏိုင္ငံသားမ်ား အျပည့္အဝပိုင္ဆိုင္သည့္ စက္ရုံမ်ားႏွင့္ ကိုရီးယားကုမၸဏီမ်ားႏွင့္ ဖက္စပ္လုပ္ကိုင္သည့္ စက္ရုံမ်ားမွ အလုပ္သမားမ်ားႏွင့္သက္ဆိုင္သည့္အေျခအေနမ်ားကို ဆန္းစစ္ထားျခင္းျဖစ္ပါသည္။ ကုမၸဏီအမ်ားစုသည္ ရန္ကုန္ႏွင့္ ပဲခုူးဝန္းက်င္ရွိ စက္မႈဇုန္မ်ားတြင္ တည္ရွိပါသည္။ ယခု အစီရင္ခံစာသည္ ၂ဝ၁၅ ဧၿပီလမွ ဇြန္လအတြင္း ကြင္းဆင္းေလ့လာသူ ဆယ္ေယာက္ပါဝင္ေသာ အဖြဲ႔ျဖင့္ စက္ရုံလုပ္ငန္းခြင္ ၃၉ ခုမွ ဝန္ထမ္းေပါင္း ၁၂ဝဝ ကို အရည္အေသြးအရေရာ အေရအတြက္အရပါအေျခခံသည့္ ေမးခြန္းမ်ားကို ေမးျမန္း၍ ရရွိလာသည့္ အခ်က္အလက္မ်ားကို အေျခခံ၍ ေရးသားထား ျခင္းျဖစ္ပါသည္။ ထို႔အတူ အျခားသူမ်ားျပဳလုပ္ထားခဲ႔သည္႔၊ ေရးသားသည္႔ အေၾကာင္းအရာ အခ်က္အလက္မ်ားမွ ျပန္လည္ေကာက္ႏႈတ္ထားသည္႔ တစ္ဆင္႔ခံ အခ်က္အလက္မ်ားလဲ ပါ၀င္ပါသည္။ ကိုယ္တိုင္ ေမးျမန္းမႈမ်ား ျပဳလုပ္ရာတြင္လည္း အေရးပါေသာသူမ်ားျဖစ္သည္႔ မန္ေနဂ်ာမ်ားႏွင္႔ ဝန္ထမ္းမ်ားအား အဖြ႔ဲလုိက္ ေဆြးေႏြးေစမႈမ်ားလည္း ပါ၀င္ပါသည္။ 본 ‘노동기본권행동연대(Action Labor Rights)’가 작성한 이 보고서는 미얀마에서 한국인이 경영하거나 현지 자본과 조인트벤처 형태로 운영하는 일부 의복공장들의 노동환경을 다루고 있습니다. 조사 대상의 대부분은 양곤지역이나 바고의 공단에 위치한 회사들로서, 지난해 4 월부터 6 월까지, 이들 지역 서른아홉개 공장 1 천 2 백명의 노동자들로부터 수집한 질적, 양적 자료를 토대로 결론을 도출했습니다. 이번 조사에는 저희 단체 소속 10 명의 연구원들이 현장투입돼, 공장 매니저들을 포함한 제보자와 중점 조사대상 그룹을 집중 인터뷰하고, 관련 자료도 넘겨받아 보고서를 작성했습니다.
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ), Korean
Source/publisher: Action Labor Rights (ALR)
Format/size: pdf (2MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.myanmar-responsiblebusiness.org/news/under-pressure.html
Date of entry/update: 08 April 2016

Title: Location Advantages and Disadvantages in Myanmar: The Case of Garment Industry
Date of publication: May 2009
Description/subject: ABSTRACT: "This research examines location advantages and disadvantages in Myanmar. The most notable location advantage of Myanmar is its abundant and low-wage labor. However, garment firms relocated here often suffer from difficulties such as electricity shortages, expensive and less available transport services, poor telephone, fax, and internet accesses, and cumbersome and time consuming administrative procedures. The wage gap between Myanmar and neighboring countries (including Thailand and China) does not attract garment firms to Myanmar but does lure Myanmar workers to its neighbors. In order to attract more garment firms to Myanmar, the government must enhance location advantages and alleviate disadvantages. While the country can do little to manipulate wages, it can reduce set-up, operation, and service link production costs through public policy and investment. A major priority for increasing the attractiveness of Myanmar is development of its infrastructure, especially the electricity supply. Further, institutional service link costs can be reduced by streamlining administrative procedures and establishing good governance. Such an improved business and investment climate will make it possible for the garment industry in Myanmar to compete in the global market." Keywords: Myanmar (Burma), garment industry, location advantage, location, disadvantage, cost-benefit analysis, production network, competitiveness, set-up cost, operation cost, service link cost, infrastructure
Author/creator: KUDO Toshihiro
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Developing Economies (IDE) Discussion Paper 203
Format/size: pdf (126K)
Date of entry/update: 12 September 2009

Title: Waiting for an Industrial Revolution
Date of publication: September 2003
Description/subject: "Industry in Burma lags well behind that of its neighbors largely because of double standards, military meddling, and now, stiffer US economic sanctions... Small may be beautiful but it is also vulnerable. And as increased US sanctions on Burma halt imports to American markets, all but the largest private garment factories in Burma are falling like dominoes. On the outskirts of Rangoon, several private garment firms with fewer than 100 employees are shutting down, explains the editor of a business journal in the capital. Signed into law on July 29, America’s severe sanctions will likely eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs. The ban on imports threatens to cripple Burma’s entire labor-intensive garment industry. Even the big manufacturers are buckling under the weight of US pressure. "We are almost dying. The future for our business looks so bleak," says a South Korean manager from Myanmar Daewoo International in Rangoon, speaking to The Irrawaddy on the condition of anonymity..."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No 7
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=3049
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2003