Labour unions meet to discuss challenges


The Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) held talks this week with international union federations and trade union support organisations to discuss their challenges and future activities the Global New Light of Myanmar reported on 25 September.

The two-day conference titled “Achievements and Futures of Sectoral Organisation of Trade Unions in Myanmar” concluded on Wednesday in Yangon. The main points of discussion were weaknesses in Myanmar’s labour laws and the impact the new minimum wage has had in the short period since it came into effect on 1 September.

At the conference, representatives from Myanmar trade unions pointed out employment contracts between factory bosses and workers do not provide sufficient recognition of the role of labour unions.

“We have a plan to discuss the [generic] employment contract paragraph by paragraph with government officials,” said CTUM assistant general-secretary Phyo Sandar Soe. The government issued an announcement in late August urging owners of factories to sign employment contracts with their workers within 30 days of their employment.

Participants also discussed the Settlement of the Labour Dispute Law. Phyo Sandar Soe said the law’s penalty for factory bosses who violate collective bargaining agreements, which imposes a fine but not a prison sentence, is too weak.

Unions from the construction, logging, mining, industrial, agricultural, transport, logistics and education sectors attended the conference.

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