Thousands of Myanmar workers rally for higher minimum wage

Thousands of workers in Yangon on Sunday took to the streets to demand an increase in the minimum wage to K9800 ($6.66) ahead of the review of the country’s new minimum wage law.

Ko Thwin Aung, chair of Myan Mhu garment workers union, said the current minimum wage of 4800 is below the cost of living in the country.

“The current rate set by the government is not enough for a family of four,” he said. “Commodity prices, as well as hostel charges, are rapidly rising up. So, we will ask for reasonable wage. For a family of four, if three do not work and depend on only one, it is impossible to cope with the current rate. So, we will demand K9800.”

He explained the amount was reached after consulting 1200 garment workers in Hlaing Tharyar Township starting from October 2019.

Nearly 10000 garment workers from 20 labour organisations marched in Hlaing Tharyar to dramatise their demand.

According to section 5(h) of Minimum Wages Law, that rate is to be defined every two year, but in the second time rate specification, it took two years and eight months before the minimum was set.

“Back in 2018, the minimum wage was set at 4800, but prices of rice are going up now,” said Ma Malar, another labour union leader who joined the protest. “I want the government to take consideration of the welfare of the workers when they set the minimum wage.”

Another group of protesters marched on Sunday in Shwe Pyi Thar Township, and demanded the minimum salary for workers to K8000.

U Zin Wai Aung, the chief organiser of the Solidarity Trade Union of Myanmar (STUM), said a worker needs a minimum wage of about K8000 for eight work hours per day to be self-sufficient and be able to provide the minimum needs of his family.

Source: Myanmar Times

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