Work­ers in Man­dalay protest Ar­bi­tra­tion Coun­cil reps

The Myanmar Times - - News - Kyawkoko@mm­ KYAW KO KO

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.

Photo: Kyaw Ko Ko

Work­ers in Man­dalay protest rep­re­sen­ta­tives elected to the Ar­bi­tra­tion Coun­cil yes­ter­day.

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