Labour officials to sue factory for compensation
THEIR patience has been tried, and now they have been pushed to sue. The 85 workers from the recently shuttered Hla Won Htet Tha garment factory say the owners once again failed to meet the agreed-upon deadline for compensation.
During a meeting at the Hlaing Tharyar township Labour Relations Department yesterday, officials pledged to help the workers file a lawsuit to claim the overdue money.
“We are now planning not only to sue the factory but also to get the money back for workers. We will request permission from the Central Arbitration Council to sue the factory,” said U Khin Maung Cho, Labour Relations Department director.
The Hla Won Htet Tha factory closed on June 25, and while the owner paid the workers their back wages in early July, he failed to offer them compensation for putting them suddenly out of a job.
Labour laws require factory owners to pay their workers an additional sum of money if they decide to suddenly close.
On July 18, the workers received partial severance pay, with a promise that the rest, in total another K5.9 million, would be paid on August 7. The date came and went without payment. The factory owners failed to arrive at the agreed-upon time and location, and did not answer repeated phone calls, labour officials told The Myanmar Times on August 9.
Daw Lwin Lwin Myint, a member of the Yangon Region arbitration body, advised the workers to report in writing the amount of unpaid severance they are still missing.
“If we only sue the factory via the arbitration council, the case will result in only a fine of K500,000. But we need to cooperate with the labour ministry to get back the money the workers are owed,” she said.
One of the former factory workers reiterated that the factory had initially been held to a July 18 deadline. But when the owner failed to show up with enough cash to cover the full compensation amount, drawn out negotiations resulted in the second deadline, August 7.
“They failed us again. We can’t believe the factory any more,” said Ma Win Win Soe.
Although The Myanmar Times called factory manager Daw Ei Ei Swe several times, she did not respond to requests for comment.
Hla Won Htet Tha factory is owned by a Korean businessman and opened in Hlaing Thayar township in 2013.
Workers from the Hla Won Htet Tha garment factory count their partial compensation on July 18.