Gar­ment work­ers en­joy a long-over­due pay­day

Women who for­merly worked at the now-de­funct Unipo­lar fac­tory in Yan­gon re­ceived pay pack­ets yes­ter­day for past-due salaries, plus com­pen­sa­tion, af­ter the Min­istry of Labour and busi­nessper­son U Myint Than stepped in to fill the gap left af­ter the Tai­wane

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - ZAW ZAW HTWE za­wza­whtwe@mm­times.com

ABAN­DONED gar­ment work­ers of the de­funct Unipo­lar fac­tory got their money yes­ter­day, thanks to the Min­istry of Labour and white-knight busi­nessper­son U Myint Than.

U Win Shein, the Min­istry of Labour’s direc­tor gen­eral of fac­to­ries, con­firmed to The Myan­mar Times that they had paid the wages due the 180 work­ers since it closed when the Tai­wanese owner fled last month.

The money came from U Myint Than, who had put up K56 mil­lion (US$47,000) for the con­tents of the fac­tory build­ing.

“We ini­tially got K42 mil­lion at the auc­tion,” said U Win Shein. “We needed more, be­cause that was not enough to pay the work­ers from the pro­ceeds of the sale. We asked the buyer to come up with it within three days and he did, so we could pay the work­ers im­me­di­ately.”

The Unipo­lar fac­tory was put up for auc­tion on June 29 with a floor price set by the min­istry at K56.7 mil­lion. It is lo­cated in Shwe Linn Ban in­dus­trial zone, Hlaing Thar­yar town­ship, Yan­gon.

“I got back more than K500,000 all told, in­clud­ing com­pen­sa­tion. My monthly wage was only K135,000. Now I’ve got a new job in a fac­tory, start­ing July 6,” said one for­mer Unipo­lar worker, Ma Thin Wah Shwe, who had worked there since 2014.

The buyer, lo­cal busi­nessper­son U Myint Than, said on June 30 that not one of the 25 busi­ness­peo­ple listed to take part in the auc­tion had put up money. Though his ini­tial bid of K42 mil­lion was suc­cess­ful, he paid the full floor price at the re­quest of the Labour Min­istry be­cause he sym­pa­thised with the work­ers’ plight.

Min­istry of Labour of­fi­cials named the er­rant owner as Pa­trick Yan, who fled the coun­try last month with­out pay­ing the wages for April and May. He had ap­par­ently run the fac­tory since 2014 with­out the nec­es­sary doc­u­men­ta­tion.

In 2014, the own­ers of the Myint April gar­ment fac­tory and Mas­ter Sport Shoe fac­tory fled back to their home coun­try of South Korea, also leav­ing work­ers un­paid. At that time, the Min­istry of Labour paid the wages and com­pen­sa­tion from the pro­ceeds of the auc­tion sale of the fac­to­ries, said U Win Shein.

PHOTO: ZAW ZAW HTWE

Photo: Zaw Zaw Htwe

For­mer work­ers at the Unipo­lar gar­ment fac­tory re­ceive over­due salary pay­ments yes­ter­day.

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