Cad­dies protest on Man­dalay’s greens

The Myanmar Times - - News - KYAW KO KO kyawkoko@mm­times.com Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun and Zar Zar Soe

MAN­DALAY’S golfers could be left car­ry­ing their own bags fol­low­ing the sus­pen­sion of 68 cad­dies from employment at Shwe Man Taung golf course in Man­dalay after they con­ducted a demon­stra­tion protest­ing anti-union ac­tions taken by their em­ployer.

The cad­dies staged a sit-in demon­stra­tion at the course on Oc­to­ber 9, ask­ing the Man­dalay Re­gion gov­ern­ment to stop the Shwe Man Dakon com­pany from tak­ing ac­tion aimed at dis­man­tling the in­flu­ence of labour unions at the golf course.

They also called on the gov­ern­ment to take ac­tion against sup­posed il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties oc­cur­ring at the course and to re­con­sider the lease of pub­lic land to the pri­vate com­pany.

Fol­low­ing the cad­dies’ protest, an in­ter­nal let­ter was cir­cu­lated at the course which stated that the 68 pro­test­ers were sus­pended, said U Thaung Tin Win, a mem­ber of Shwe Man Taung golf course’s labour or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“The com­pany re­leased an in­traof­fice let­ter an­nounc­ing the 68 cad­dies are sus­pended. We think that they have acted il­le­gally in this re­gard. The work­ers who are sus­pended so far have not been al­lowed to re­sume their du­ties. Guards are posted at the en­trance [to the course],” said U Thaung Tin Win.

“We have sub­mit­ted letters ask­ing rel­e­vant authorities to solve the dis­pute,” he added.

The golf club is­sued a state­ment, signed by its gen­eral man­ager, which said the cad­dies had been sus­pended as their be­hav­iour had dam­aged the pres­tige and fame of the club dur­ing the Thad­ingyut Cup tour­na­ment, which was be­ing held at the time of the sit-in protest.

The golf course’s gen­eral man­ager, U Myo Thant, told The Myan­mar Times that the 68 work­ers have been sus­pended in or­der to avoid fur­ther prob­lems at the course, though it is just a tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion. He said the com­pany will al­low them to come back to work if they agree to fol­low the golf course’s rules.

“We’ve sus­pended them tem­po­rar­ily be­cause they staged a protest when a match was go­ing to start, mean­ing they vi­o­lated club rules. It is a tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion, not a sack­ing,” he said.

“Cad­dies are not of­fi­cially em­ployed by the golf course but they are paid by golfers who use our course,” he added.

In July this year, cad­dies at the course staged an­other protest de­mand­ing for­mal employment agree­ments from the club. They were press­ing sim­i­lar demands in this more re­cent demon­stra­tion.

“The Min­istry of Labour has told us that a ne­go­ti­a­tion be­tween em­ployer, em­ploy­ees and the gov­ern­ment will be con­ducted on Oc­to­ber 13 at the township labour of­fice. We will de­mand, in par­tic­u­lar, that we be given for­mal employment agree­ments that ad­here to na­tional labour laws. If not, protests like this will con­tinue hap­pen­ing,” said U Thaung Tin Win.

The Shwe Man Taung golf course di­rectly em­ploys 100 staff and al­lows around 300 cad­dies to work on the course. It was es­tab­lished in 2013 by the Shwe Man Dakon com­pany in part­ner­ship with Man­dalay City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee. –

‘We will de­mand ... for­mal employment agree­ments that ad­here to na­tional labour laws.’

U Thaung Tin Win Caddy labour ac­tivist

Photo: Kyaw Ko Ko

Cad­dies protest at Shwe Man Taung golf course in Man­dalay.

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