Chinese bag maker shuts down in Myanmar over COVID-19

A Chinese-owned bag factory in Yangon abruptly announced its shutdown on Monday due to a lack of raw materials caused by the COVID-19 epidemic in China.

The Lucky Sky Bags factory in Mya Sein Yaung industrial zone in Hlaing Tharyar township gave no notice to its workers, some of whom were on strike, before shutting down on Monday.

U Myo Zaw Htay, one of the leaders of the strike, called for the factory’s licence to be revoked and its 20 Chinese employees deported.

“They got a seven-year tax exemption for investing in Mya Sein Yaung industrial zone,” he said, “but it operated for just 11 months.”

The factory, which has 642 workers, makes leather bags for export to Europe.

The workers went on strike from January 31 to February 11 to protest against unfair labour practices, which made it difficult for the factory to meet export deadlines and resulted in a decline in orders, according to the workers.

After reaching an agreement with the factory on February 11 the workers returned to work.

But 10 days later, the labour union’s secretary was fired for no reason, so the workers protested and the factory shut down, U Myo Zaw Htay said.

The factory management vowed to pay the workers compensation.

Lucky Sky Bags was the third Chinese-owned company to shut down in the past three weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has infected over 79,000 people globally.

On Friday, the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association expressed concern that as much as half of the garment factories in the country could shut down next month due to a lack of raw materials from China.

It said that about 90 percent of the fabric, textiles and zippers used in local factories come from China. – Translated

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Source : Myanmar Times

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