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Labour issues in Burma

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: *Youtube search for Burma OR Myanmar - labour issues* (video)
Description/subject: About 4,720 results (August 2017)
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Various sources via Youtube
Format/size: Adobe Flash or html5
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2017

Individual Documents

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: Enterprise Survey in Garment and Agro-food processing Sectors in Yangon and Mon State
Date of publication: January 2016
Description/subject: "CESD presented the preliminary findings of their enterprise survey, which looked at labour market issues in the garment and food processing sectors, to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security on 27 January 2016. Issues included the low levels of labor representation, signs of worker dissatisfaction (as reflected in quite a high incidence of strikes), the gap between actual wages and the new minimum wage (the survey was conducted prior to the establishment of a minimum wage), high labor turnover rates, limited investment in human capital development, and firms’ difficulties in finding skilled labor. The research found that the greatest challenge for businesses was the ability to access skilled labor, followed by access to a reliable electricity supply..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
Format/size: pdf (582K)
Alternate URLs: https://mdricesd.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/presentation-labour-27-jan-2016.pdf
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2016

Title: Hpapun Interview: Saw A---, January 2015
Date of publication: 11 August 2015
Description/subject: "This Interview with Saw A--- describes events and issues occurring in Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District, during January 2015, including improvements in education, villager opinions about the ceasefire, and land confiscation.... The Karen Education Department (KED) said they will raise each teachers' salaries from 4,500 baht (US $133.48) to 7,500 baht (US $222.47) per year starting in 2014 in B--- village... Saw A--- expressed his opinion on the ceasefire agreement between the Burma/Myanmar government and the Karen National Union (KNU), saying that he does not have faith in the current ceasefire... Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #340 confiscated villagers’ land in Hpapun area and put up a sign declaring it to be the battalion’s land. The villagers remain the legal landlords but the LIB is exercising de-facto control. The interviewee’s brother had submitted a complaint about this to the KNU Land Department several times in 2014 and, although he was told the land will be returned, there has been no observed progress towards land reclamation or compensation..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (308K-reduced version; 476K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/sites/default/files/15-15-a2-i1_0.pdf
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2015

Title: Unravelling the minimum wage
Date of publication: 10 July 2015
Description/subject: "They are hoping to be allowed inside so they can apply for a job. Some already have work nearby, but they have heard the United Knitting Company is offering a relatively high rate for unskilled workers of K90,000 per month, and are hoping to switch. The standard monthly pay for a semi-skilled garment factory worker in Yangon is K95,000, including a base wage of roughly K40,000, a bonus of around the same value, an award and several payments made at the discretion of the factory owner, according to U Thet Hnin Aung, secretary of the Tai Yi Basic Labour Organisation and a member of the Myanmar Trade Unions Federation. “They usually pay the bonus, but there is no security. If we’re absent for one day, they can take some of these payments away,” he said. This is likely to change at the end of next month, when a national tripartite body will finalise details of Myanmar’s first minimum wage. On June 29, the National Minimum Wage Committee announced a provisional base wage of K3600 per day, and opened a two-month window for comment. Since then, factory workers and owners have fervently debated this figure, with owners saying they will pay no more than K2500 and workers saying they will agree to a minimum of K4000. Businesspeople from China and South Korea have threatened to shut their factories in Yangon if the K3600 wage is enacted, saying that costs are already high due to low productivity and poor infrastructure. For the workers, inflation and unstable commodity prices mean they may not be able to survive on less. On the current wage, many workers in Yangon are forced to live outside factory walls in structures built from bamboo and plastic sheeting. Some live beside large pools of stagnant water – breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Healthcare options are limited and expensive..."
Author/creator: Clare Hammond and Nyan Lynn Aung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times" (English)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 August 2015

Title: Interview with Myanmar labour activist Su Su Nway
Date of publication: 11 February 2013
Description/subject: "Ma Su Su Nway is a Yangon-based labour activist and National League for Democracy (NLD) party member. In 2005 she was sentenced to 18 months in prison after filing a complaint that led to the successful prosecution of government authorities over the use of forced labour. For her work opposing forced labour in Myanmar, Ma Su Su Nway was in 2006 awarded the John Humphrey Freedom Award from the Canadian organisation Rights & Democracy. Released from prison in June 2006, she was rearrested in November 2008 for displaying of a banner near the hotel of UN human rights envoy Paulo Pinheiro. Ma Su Su Nway was subsequently released from prison in October 2011 and has since been involved in labour organising activities in Myanmar. The following transcript is a translated excerpt of an interview conducted in Yangon on 27 January 2013..."
Author/creator: Stephen Campbell
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 July 2014

Title: Sewing Discord
Date of publication: April 2010
Description/subject: Escalating garment factory strikes in Rangoon needle nervous regime... "Mostly young women, they work long hours to produce luxury clothing for the world’s well-heeled. And they’re fed up. Burmese workers stitch sports clothing for a taiwanese company in a garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar Township in Rangoon in 2003. (Photo: AFP) Significantly, in this politically charged election year, Rangoon’s textile factory workers are resorting to industrial action to back their increasingly clamorous demands for better pay and conditions of employment. The majority of the striking workers are women. Although the regime usually assigns a Labor Ministry official to mediate, negotiations are held in an atmosphere of menace, with armed riot-control troops deployed at the scene of the strike. Soldiers in riot gear find themselves confronted by women whose most provocative action is to bang their lunch boxes with metal spoons to reinforce their demands. It’s clear that workers are being pushed into industrial action by rising living costs and declining labor conditions, yet the regime is evidently worried that the protests could turn political..."
Author/creator: Ba Kaung
Language: E nglish
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 4
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=18222
Date of entry/update: 19 April 2010