Workers in Mandalay protest Arbitration Council reps
MEMBERS of labour organisations in Mandalay Region yesterday brought more pressure on the Arbitration Council’s labour delegates, demonstrating in favour of re-selecting those seats on the dispute settlement body.
About 1000 workers from trade groups in Mandalay gathered to protest council members selected to represent workers, as all five had been drawn from a single organisation.
“What we want is that labour representatives be selected from three organisations. But the current selection is not fair,” U Maung Kyaing, Mandalay Region representative for the Union of Myanmar Federation of Workers Unions from Industries and Service Companies, told The Myanmar Times. “Moreover, there was weakness in outreach and lack of invitations sent to workers’ organisations to the event to select labour representatives. That’s why we want to re-select labour representatives.”
“We will continue making our demand until it is fulfilled,” he added.
Protesting in the Mandalay industrial zone, demonstrators said they were looking for representatives on the Arbitration Council who could unite workers and were not seeking a position on the council simply to “show off”.
Representatives of workers and workers unions selected the five labour representatives on July 12, in a vote that was neither fair nor transparent, the demonstrators said.
The 15-member Arbitration Council is composed of five representatives each for the government, employers and workers. The current council’s term expires at the end of this year, prompting the July vote to replace its outgoing membership.
The quasi-judicial Arbitration Council can rule on disputes between employers and their workers, as empowered in the Settlement of Labour Disputes Law enacted in 2012 and amended in 2014.
Labour activists held a press conference on July 19 similarly objecting to the workers’ representatives on the council and arguing that several labour groups had not been invited to the election.
The following month, some trade unions threatened to boycott the Arbitration Council if its labour representatives were not re-selected.
“We want an independent election commission formed to select labour representatives. And we also want all worker organisations invited to the event to select those labour representatives. The best way forward is to reselect representative for workers,” said a participant in yesterday’s protest.
Workers in Mandalay protest representatives elected to the Arbitration Council yesterday.