Work­ers seek pay from erring over­seas em­ploy­ment agency

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

AN over­seas em­ploy­ment agency that failed to de­liver on its prom­ise to find work abroad for sev­eral Myan­mar ci­ti­zens has breached an agree­ment it made on Septem­ber 23 to pay com­pen­sa­tion to 26 work­ers it con­tracted with ear­lier this year.

In July, the Per­fect Com­pany em­ploy­ment agency sent nearly 300 work­ers to Thai­land, where they were left job­less for about two months de­spite pay­ing agency fees of be­tween K450,000 (US$353) and K600,000 each.

Twenty-six of those work­ers were re­turned to Myan­mar against their will by the agency, in co­op­er­a­tion with Thai po­lice, and sought to re­coup some of their losses.

The com­pany signed an agree­ment in front of labour union and in­dus­try of­fi­cials on Septem­ber 23 to pro­vide some com­pen­sa­tion to the 26 work­ers.

So far, how­ever, Per­fect Com­pany has yet to make good on the pay­ment pledge.

“We will sue the com­pany if they do not pay soon. We want com­pen­sa­tion for be­ing job­less in Thai­land for 70 days,” said one of the mi­grant work­ers, Ko Kyaw Soe Han.

While un­em­ployed, the work­ers faced se­ri­ous food short­ages and had to rely on do­na­tions and hand­outs from so­cial ser­vices or­gan­i­sa­tions in Thai­land. Many of them took out loans to pay for the bro­ker­age fees.

Ac­cord­ing to Ko Hein Latt, an of­fi­cial from the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions Myan­mar (CTUM), the agency must pay the work­ers 75 per­cent of the wages promised for the days they were un­em­ployed.

The 26 work­ers seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion have al­leged that they were sub­jected to dan­ger­ous work­ing con­di­tions once em­ploy­ment was found for them and say they were de­ported once they com­plained about the poor labour con­di­tions they faced.

The work­ers claim the of­fend­ing agency also owes them 13 days in wages, in ad­di­tion to the com­pen­sa­tion they are owed for the time spent un­em­ployed.

The CTUM has said it will take the mat­ter fur­ther if the work­ers choose to, in the event that no pay­ment from the agency is forth­com­ing. They also al­lege that the agree­ments be­tween the work­ers and the agency may have been en­tered into il­le­gally.

Sev­eral at­tempts by The Myan­mar Times to reach Per­fect Com­pany for com­ment were un­suc­cess­ful.

Photo: Zaw Zaw Htwe

Mi­grant worker Ko Thet Naing Oo shows his con­tract from the Per­fect over­seas em­ploy­ment agency on Oc­to­ber 21.

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