Workers demonstrate in Mandalay

Workers in Mandalay Region held a protest to demand the appointment of a new regional labour minister and urged officials to pay attention to labour affairs.

Led by Myanmar Industries, Crafts and Services (MICS) Trade Union Federation, about 300 workers from 20 factories in the industrial zone staged a protest march last Saturday.

“Under the current government’s term, most labour issues failed to meet compromise. We assume that it is because of weakness of the labour minister. That is why, we are calling for the appointment of a new labour minister. But the regional government doesn’t care about the workers,” said the trade union’s general secretary U Thet Hnin Aung.

Workers called for seven demands: to stop dismissing trade union’s leaders, to inspect factories and workshops in accordance with the law, (the government) to ratify ILO Convention 98 (which protects trade unions), to eradicate corruption, to appoint a new labour minister in the region, to amend labour laws as soon as possible, and assurances of protection for trade unions.

“Currently, many labor union leaders in Mandalay Region are getting fired. For example, the ones from Bagan Tharabar Hotel, Mikko Coffee Mix Factory, Myanmar May Kaung Finished-Timber Factory and Ve Ve Soft Drink Factory. But the government cannot solve it efficiently,” said U Thet Hnin Aung.

The Settlement of Labor Dispute Law 2012 doesn’t have effective punishments like imprisonment. The firing of union leaders is not because of valid reasons but because of organisational conflict and so, these statements need to be included, he said.

The workers assembled at the entrance of Mandalay Industrial Zone and protested by walking along the 62nd Street to Manaw Raman Square for expressions.

When asked, the labour minister for Mandalay Region replied that he doesn’t know about the firings.

“During the previous government, workers were not fired if they ask for some rights. But now, employers are firing workers if they ask for their rights, to be protected” another protest leader said.


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