Lawmaker urge parliament to include jail terms in labour law amendment

In 2014, Myanmar enacted an amended Labour Dispute Settlement Law. Three years later the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Population submitted a second amendment bill to Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House), which discussed and approving the amendments. The bill was then sent to Amyothar Hluttaw (Upper House).

Dr. Khin Ma Gyi, an Amyothar Hluttaw Representative, urged the parliament to include jail terms when the bill was discussed at Amyothar Hluttaw in late November.

In settling labor disputes, strong punishment such as jail terms in addition to fines can be a helpful tool for settling labor dispute or protests, lawmakers said.

“What we often see in labor disputes is that employers breach the settlement reached between the two dispute parties facilitated by Settlement Arbitration Council because the fine for breaking the settlement is K1 million —especially in the cases of rehiring the workers. Taking advantage of the weaknesses in the law, they often try to scrap the settlement by paying K1 million fine. The case in which employers abide the law regarding the labor dispute settlement is very rare,’’Dr. Khin Ma Gyi said.

The K1 million kyat fine is approximately $648 USD according to the exchange rate from the Central Bank on December 6, 2018.

The fact that the highest penalties are fines according to Article 46 A, B, C, D, and E weaken the enforcement. Dr. Khin Ma Gyi argued that placing jail terms or fines for both employers and workers can bring fair protection for both parties. Thus she urged the parliament to add the penalty of one month jail term in addition to K300,000 to K1 million fines.

Moreover, she also suggested that an independent arbitration council should be formed by voting system comprising workers and employer representatives.


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