Protesting sock factory workers fired
The DJY Knitting Myanmar sock factory terminated some 280 workers after they failed to report for work as they continued to protest outside the factory.
THE sock factory DJY Knitting Myanmar issued an announcement on August 23 stating that they would not reintegrate 280 workers on strike as the latter repeatedly failed to return to work by the deadline.
Over 200 factory workers of DJY Knitting Myanmar factory of industrial zone 3 in Hlaing Tharyar have been protesting in front of the factory since August 7. They demand the re-hiring of their leader sacked by the factory and the organising of an independent workers union, according to protesters.
“We can’t accept them should they want to get back to work because they failed to return before the deadline,” said a factory official, who asked not to be named, to the media on August 23.
The factory official added that, the strikers failed to return to work for nearly 12 days without leave requests. The factory had given them a chance on four occasions by extending the deadline several times.
The factory fired the worker’s leader who was organising the trade union on August 7. According to our source, the factory offered compensations and acted legally because the leader committed several infractions: he allegedly held a meeting with the other workers in order to create the labour union without prior notice; he missed work the following day; he enticed other workers to go on strike; and he contacted the human resources department asking for paid leave for the workers.
“We have promised to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to obey the laws of the country. We never violate laws because it would affect business with our clients,” a factory official said on Wednesday.
Over 200 workers went on strike on August 7 and made 17 demands relating to their labour rights. According to the factory official, workers failed to return to work even though they agreed to all 17 demands of the strikers. These demands were ratified by the signing of a labour agreement contract in front of the township labour arbitration group of the Ministry of Labour.
The strike has not ceased as protesters now demand for the re-hiring of their dismissed leader, as he is a key person for the trade union.
“We just want to form a union. Every country has labour unions. We are here to protest since they tried to break the trade union,” said one of the workers’ leaders, Phyo Ko Ko Aung, to the media on August 22.
Strikers added that they are protesting peacefully against the factory and only have two further requests: to re-hire their leader and to be able to form an independent trade union.
Protesters addressed the regional arbitration council to solve their disputes. “We will oppose the factory through the legal system since they are fighting us with laws. We only want to be allowed to form a trade union,” said protest leader Ko Soe Thura Ko, who was fired by the factory, on August 23.
The DJY knitting Myanmar Co Ltd opened in Hkaing Tharyar two years ago. The factory employs close to 400 workers and over half of them are on strike. Those who refused to join the protest argued that they must keep working to earn a living. They added that they get unsolicited pressure from the strikers whenever they come to and go from the factory.