Yangon garment workers demonstrate over handling of dispute

15 February 2020
Yangon garment workers demonstrate over handling of dispute
Photo: Nant Khaing

Over 100 workers from Zheng Zhang Popular garment factory from Yangon Region, Hlinetharyar Township, No. 2 industrial zone staged a demonstration Friday in front of Hlinetharyar Township Department of Labour Relations office and called on the government to settle labour rights issues and grievances suffered by the workers.

The striking workers chanted slogans calling on the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to take action against the employers, immediately identify the true employer and immediately settle this trade dispute by Zheng Zhang Popular garment factory employer.

One of the strikers, Win Htet Oo, said that they staged this demonstration in protest at the forwarding of this trade dispute to the arbitration court by Department of Labour Relations without the consent of the workers.

“We demanded for giving ticket fees 10 or 5 kyats but the employer absolutely refused it and then the workers boycotted against the employer. And then the employer told us that they would prosecute the striking workers. Labour Union chairman dismissed us by issuing a statement,” Win Htet Oo explained on why they had to stage this demonstration after failing to get settlement of their demands.

“When we failed to settle our demands we walked out of the factory and staged a demonstration outside. Then the officials from Department of Labour Relations came to us and told us that they would settle this issue but we don’t know who our employer is and we felt we don’t have the boss here,” he added.

The strikers said that they would make more demands to the employer on giving increased bonuses on full attendance, year-end bonus and skill bonus.

Striker Chit Thazin Phyo said, “We demand a skill bonus, full attendance bonus and year-end bonus to our employer. We made a total 25 demands and we have already got 22 of them. The Department of Labour Relations forwarded this case (to arbitrary court) without our consent. So we staged a demonstration against township chief of Labour Relations Department.”

This garment factory has run here since 2018 and it employs nearly 1,600 workers.