Labour of­fi­cials to sue fac­tory for com­pen­sa­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - ZAW ZAW HTWE za­wza­whtwe@mm­times.com

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.

Photo: Zaw Zaw Htwe

Work­ers from the Hla Won Htet Tha gar­ment fac­tory count their par­tial com­pen­sa­tion on July 18.

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