Work­ers al­lege abuse at state oil­field

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - NAY AUNG nayaung@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

Work­ers at a state-owned oil­field in Magwe Re­gion claim they have been sub­ject to nu­mer­ous labour vi­o­la­tions, in­clud­ing un­paid over­time wages and a lack of ap­pro­pri­ate safety gear.

OIL­FIELD work­ers in Magwe Re­gion’s Ye­nangyaung township claim they are not being prop­erly com­pen­sated for over­time work and that they do not have the ap­pro­pri­ate safety gear. Myan­mar Petro­chem­i­cal En­ter­prise, which is ac­cused by the work­ers of the labour vi­o­la­tions, is a sta­te­owned firm.

When con­tacted by The Myan­mar Times for com­ment, the com­pany de­clined, stat­ing that it does not have a spokesper­son.

Some labour­ers must work 12 hours ev­ery day be­cause op­er­a­tions are un­der­staffed, said U Lay Naing, sec­re­tary of Shwe Yada­nar Ba­sic Worker Group, which was formed to ad­vo­cate on be­half of oil­field work­ers in the area. They are not granted leave, he said, and do not re­ceive the bonuses they are en­ti­tled to un­der the law.

Oil­field worker U Myint Khaing, who has 35 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in Ye­nangyaung township’s oil­fields, said they are not pro­vided with work clothes suited to the oc­cu­pa­tion’s haz­ards and do not have enough safety hel­mets.

Magwe Re­gion’s Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion Min­is­ter U Nay Myo Kyaw said he has not had a chance to re­view the laws but promised to fight for the work­ers’ rights, what­ever they may be.

“First, I want to say – to not just oil­field work­ers but to all work­ers in Magwe – con­sider me a rep­re­sen­ta­tive and a co­worker,” he said. “At this time, I can try to stand up for them, to get them the rights that are pre­scribed in the laws of Union and re­gional gov­ern­ments.”

“I do not yet know ex­actly what rights Ye­nangyaung’s oil­field work­ers are en­ti­tled to,” he added.

“If there is any prob­lem, a report can be sent di­rectly ad­dressed to me. They can meet with their labour union and labour or­gan­i­sa­tion. I am quite sure that I will stand up for them to get their rights.”

Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

An oil worker car­ries buck­ets at an ex­ca­va­tion site in Minhla township, Magwe Re­gion.

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