Myan­mar mi­grant work­ers ‘are un­der­paid’

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­times.com

Myan­mar do­mes­tic work­ers work­ing in coun­tries like Malaysia and Thai­land are not even be­ing paid their ba­sic salaries, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

MOST do­mes­tic work­ers, in­clud­ing Myan­mar mi­grant work­ers, in Thai­land and Malaysia are not get­ting even their ba­sic salaries, Rory Mun­goven, li­ai­son of­fi­cer of the In­ter­na­tional La­bor Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ILO), said on Thurs­day.

“The aver­age work­ing hours of mi­grant work­ers in Thai­land and Malaysia are 12 hours and 15 hours re­spec­tively,” Mun­goven said at a fo­rum en­ti­tled “To­wards Achiev­ing De­cent Work for Do­mes­tic Work­ers in ASEAN” held in Nay Pyi Taw.

“Only 40 per­cent of them get one day hol­i­day in a week and most of them don’t even get their ba­sic salary,” he said.

As there is no stip­u­la­tion for do­mes­tic work­ers in the labour laws of th­ese coun­tries, mi­grant work­ers can­not en­joy labour pro­tec­tion rights as well as the re­me­dial rights if vi­o­lated.

One of the stip­u­la­tions of ILO states that the work of do­mes­tic helpers should be recog­nised and they should en­joy equal rights as other work­ers.

It was agreed and signed by the Philip­pines in ASEAN, two coun­tries from Africa, seven coun­tries from Europe and 14 coun­tries from South America.

“House­keep­ing work sup­ports mil­lion of women in Asia for their fam­i­lies’ liveli­hood. Without proper pro­tec­tion, women are vul­ner­a­ble to vi­o­lence,” Mun­goven said.

Pro­hibit­ing women from work­ing is not a so­lu­tion, the ILO li­ai­son of­fi­cer said, adding that the so­lu­tion is to recog­nise house maid job and to pro­tect them.

Myan­mar women are work­ing in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries as house maids ei­ther legally or il­le­gally, said Union Min­is­ter for La­bor, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion U Thein Swe.

Peo­ple with lim­ited ed­u­ca­tion, low job op­por­tu­nity and those fac­ing fam­ily fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties usu­ally work as house maids, he said.

“We have to recog­nise the labour of our house maids work­ing in for­eign coun­tries,” U Thein Swe said.

After send­ing house maids to Sin­ga­pore in 2013 and Hong Kong in 2014, it had been stopped due to labour dis­putes and rights vi­o­la­tion cases. Due to the ban, more un­der­aged girls are sent il­le­gally over­seas to work as do­mes­tic helpers and sev­eral work­ers were ex­posed to abuses by their em­ploy­ers.

Among over nine mil­lion do­mes­tic work­ers in South­east Asia and Pa­cific re­gion, over two mil­lion are mi­grant work­ers. In ASEAN, 20pc of mi­grant do­mes­tic work­ers are women.

Thai­land is the first des­ti­na­tion for Myan­mar mi­grant work­ers and Malaysia the sec­ond.

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