Premier Coffee Factory Sued for Unpaid Overtime Fees

The labour ministry has sued Premier Coffee factory, claiming the company failed to pay 300 workers their overtime fees, labour officials told The Myanmar Times.

“After reading the worker’s report, we met the factory officials and explained that, based on our labour laws, they must pay the workers [who work on daily wages] the overtime fees,” said U Chit Paw, deputy director of the Factories and General Labour Laws Department of the Ministry of Labour. “So, we’re suing them because they failed to obey the laws.”

After complaints were filed about overtime pay, the labour officials filed a case against the factory on June 28.

There are about 700 permanent workers at the Premier Coffee factory and about 300 – who’ve been at the factory for nine months or more – on daily wages.

Under 2015 labour laws, factories are allowed to ask all labourers, including permanent workers and those on daily wages, to work for a half-day every Saturday. All employees are entitled to overtime if they work on Saturday afternoon. Premier Coffee failed to pay 300 factory workers on daily wages for four hours of work on a Saturday afternoon, U Chit Paw told The Myanmar Times on July 5.

Daily wage workers are also entitled to Sundays off, which the factory did not honour, said Ko Naing Win, the union chair of the factory, who was recently fired. Surrounding factories follow the new labour laws, he said, but Premier Coffee is ignoring them.

“If they pay the overtime wages to the workers, we will close the case,” said U Win Shein, director general of the Factories and General Labour Laws Inspection Department.

Premier Coffee Mix Company Limited said in a July 1 press release that they were sorry they were getting sued and asked the labour ministry for a clear definition of the laws governing compensation of daily wage workers.

“The rules for workers on daily wages are: Workers can work or not depending on their desire,” said Ma Yu Darli Htun, media spokesperson for Premier Coffee Mix Company Limited. “We have no right to take action against those who don’t come to work. We can only take actions against our permanent workers who fail to obey our regulations. Workers on daily wages don’t need to ask for leave.”

Ma Yu Darli Htun added that her company, along with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has asked the labour minister to settle the case through explaining the laws to the factory. If both sides cannot agree on a clear interpretation of the laws and workers’ rights, she said Premier will obey the court’s decision.


Source: The Myanmar Times

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