State-owned Magwe fac­to­ries un­der re­view

The Myanmar Times - - News - NAY AUNG nayaung@mm­

MAGWE labour of­fi­cials are in­spect­ing three state-owned fac­to­ries for poor per­for­mance and plan to sub­mit a re­port to the re­gion hlut­taw when it re­opens. The Hlut­taw’s Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion Com­mit­tee is fo­cus­ing on how work­ers’ rights can be im­proved on the state-run pro­duc­tion lines, com­mit­tee chair U Thet Khaing told The Myan­mar Times.

Be­cause the three fac­to­ries are op­er­at­ing at a loss, work­ers’ pay­checks are tak­ing a hit, he said.

On Septem­ber 6 and 7, the com­mit­tee vis­ited the fac­to­ries and spoke with work­ers in Pwint­phyu, Pakokku and Chauk town­ships.

“Each and ev­ery fac­tory in the re­gion is op­er­at­ing at a loss,” U Thet Khaing said. “The ma­chines in the fac­to­ries fall short of stan­dards. They are not mod­ern ma­chines and re­quire man­power. For the Salay fer­tiliser fac­tory [in Chauk town­ship], the ma­chines are out­dated but the fac­tory con­tin­ues to run by us­ing such ma­chines to their max­i­mum ef­fec­tive­ness. So the pro­duc­tion rate is down and the fac­tory is los­ing money. Work­ers are stuck in the mid­dle of this sit­u­a­tion.”

The gar­ment fac­to­ries in Pwint­phyu and Pakokku town­ships are mis­man­aged and daily-wage work­ers are suf­fer­ing, he said.

“Daily-wage work­ers have to work in the fac­to­ries for years in the hope of be­ing ap­pointed as gov­ern­ment per­son­nel,” U Thet Khaing said. “Some have been work­ing there for 10 years while many oth­ers have been there for five to seven years. On the other hand, both the pre­vi­ous and the new gov­ern­ments have had dif­fi­culty as­sign­ing more staff in these fac­to­ries that are run­ning at a loss. But the gov­ern­ment needs to keep in mind daily-wage work­ers who have been pre­vi­ously ap­pointed with­out con­sid­er­a­tion of the fac­tory’s fu­ture.”

The work­ers de­serve a fair wage, he said, not­ing that the daily-wage work­ers in Chauk town­ship’s Salay fer­tiliser fac­tory make just K1100 per day, far un­der the K5000 per diem min­i­mum wage in­sti­tuted last year.

“In July, work­ers from the fer­tiliser pack­ag­ing and bag pro­duc­ing depart­ment have sub­mit­ted an of­fi­cial com­plaint over the loss of their rights,” Ma Yamin Ko, a worker from the fac­tory, said, cit­ing prob­lems like a lack of work­place safety, no plan to per­ma­nently hire daily wage work­ers, and salaries below the manda­tory min­i­mum. “The rel­e­vant de­part­ments came and con­ducted an in­spec­tion, but noth­ing has been re­solved so far.”

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

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