New basic wage may take effect in April

The National Minimum Wage Council has sought the approval of the president for the new minimum wage of K4800 (US$3.60) per day to be enforced starting in April, a member of the committee told The Myanmar Times.

“All the committee members, including the committee chair union minister, has proposed the wage to come into force starting in April,” said U Htun Wai, a member of the National Minimum Wage Council.

“All would enjoy the minimum wage in April if the president approves it,” he said.

According to the procedure, the committee has to submit their final approved wage of K4800 to the Union Government to get the confirmation of the president, U Htun Wai said.

He added that the committee chair, Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe, has promised that the new minimum wage would take effect in April.

“We aren’t satisfied absolutely with this minimum wage, but we had to agree with this because of the understanding of the existing situation and conditions in the country,” said U Htun Wai, workers representative of the National Minimum Wage Council in Yangon.

The committee approved K4800 as the minimum daily wage for Myanmar at its fifth meeting in Naypyitaw on March 5.

U Khin Maung Nyo, an economic expert and a member of committee said they plan to set up a monitoring system to control any conflicts between labour and management and other problems that may crop up in the process of implementing the minimum wage.

When the country’s first minimum wage of K3600 was implemented in September 2015, there were worker strikes almost every day after employers gave the workers only the minimum wage and overtime pay, abolishing their allowance fees and other benefits.

As a result of the abolition of other benefits that companies gave to their workers, many of them were paid less than they made before the K3600 basic wage was enforced. This resulted in a lot of confusion among the workers.

“It has been already prescribed that employers can’t abolish allowances they give to workers,” U Khin Maung Nyo said.

Labour activist U Htay, who is also a legal adviser of the All Myanmar Trade Union Network (AMTUN) said the workers are not satisfied with the K4800 basic wage.

He said the national committee had violated procedures by failing to use a voting system to decide the new minimum wage.

Labour organisations have asked for a K5600 minimum daily wage since 2012, but the government considered the amount too much.

According to Myanmar law, the minimum wage must be evaluated and prescribed at least once every two years.

Source: Myanmar Times

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