Fac­tory fir­ings protested

Work­ers at an agri­cul­tural equip­ment fac­tory yes­ter­day protested what they said was the wrong­ful ter­mi­na­tion of nearly all peo­ple em­ployed when the state-owned en­ter­prise was pri­va­tised.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SHOON NAING shun­lei­win95@gmail.com

WORK­ERS from an agri­cul­ture ma­chin­ery fac­tory at 9 Mile in Yangon Re­gion staged a protest against the Young In­vest­ment Group In­dus­try Co Ltd (YIG) yes­ter­day morn­ing, claiming the com­pany had fired nearly all of its em­ploy­ees with­out cause.

About 100 work­ers and their sup­port­ers gath­ered at Bo Sein Hman field for a three-hour demon­stra­tion against the YIG that lasted un­til noon. Par­tic­i­pants said the com­pany in ques­tion, which in­her­ited the pre­vi­ously state-run fac­tory when it was trans­ferred by the gov­ern­ment into pri­vate hands in 2013, had not hon­oured the terms of its con­tract with em­ploy­ees by grad­u­ally ter­mi­nat­ing all but six of the 69 work­ers em­ployed at the time of the trans­fer.

Ac­cord­ing to U Myint Lwin Oo, who led the protest as one of the work­ers who saw his pay change from gov­ern­ment wage to pri­vate salary in 2013, said although the com­pany had been au­tho­rised to take over pro­duc­tion at the fac­tory, since its trans­fer three years ago the fa­cil­ity re­mained essen­tially idle.

“When they trans­ferred the fac­tory in 2013, the labour min­istry, the YIG com­pany and labour [rep­re­sen­ta­tives] held a dis­cus­sion and made the con­tract, but now they are not fol­low­ing the con­tract and the min­istry is ne­glect­ing it,” he said. “Be­sides, those work­ers for whom it is pos­si­ble to be trans­ferred back into gov­ern­ment [em­ploy­ment] have been pres­sured to go back. And those for whom it is not pos­si­ble to go back are be­ing fired.”

The YIG is a multi­na­tional firm es­tab­lished in 1998, op­er­at­ing 16 prin­ci­ple sub­sidiaries in Myan­mar, China and Sin­ga­pore, ac­cord­ing to its web­site. The agri­cul­ture ma­chin­ery fac­tory is one of its holdings in Myan­mar’s man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

“We will con­tinue to pro­ceed if noth­ing changes af­ter our protest and we will try our best to be in line with the law,” U Myint Lwin Oo said of the work­ers’ plan go­ing for­ward. “We have al­ready in­formed the min­istry but they nei­ther replied to us nor in­ves­ti­gated the com­pany. The last time we in­formed them was in April.”

He told The Myan­mar Times that the pro­test­ers had also sent a let­ter to the Yangon Re­gion par­lia­ment through Daw Moe Moe Su Kyi (NLD; Mayan­gone 2), a sit­ting MP in the leg­is­la­ture.

“I put for­ward their let­ter in the par­lia­ment on July 14 but noth­ing has so far been dis­cussed,” Daw Moe Moe Su Kyi said.

“The work­ers are be­ing un­fairly treated by the em­ployer and also the gov­ern­ment. We can’t stand for it, so we are here to help our friends,” said Daw Win Theingi Soe, a mem­ber of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions of Myan­mar. “We will con­tinue to help them un­til they suc­ceed.”

Ma Aye Myat Maw, one of the work­ers on the pay­roll at the time of the fac­tory’s trans­fer, said, “The main thing is the com­pany didn’t fol­low the prin­ci­ples of the con­tract. Why isn’t the [labour] min­istry in­ves­ti­gat­ing the com­pany? I want the min­istry to take ac­tion against them. I also want sta­bil­ity with my job.”

She told The Myan­mar Times that she had been em­ployed at the fac­tory since 2013 but was fired on July 12, with no le­git­i­mate rea­son for her dis­missal pro­vided.

“We want to help our friends get their jobs back,” said Ko Chit Ko Ko, who joined the protest to­gether with six co-work­ers from Shwe Tun Com­pany. “We will con­tinue to help them un­til the end.”

Photo: Zarni Phyo

Labour­ers fired from an agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery fac­tory in Yangon protest their dis­missal at Bo Sein Hman field in Tarmwe town­ship yes­ter­day.

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