Workers allege abuse at state oilfield
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.”
An oil worker carries buckets at an excavation site in Minhla township, Magwe Region.