Govt team to ne­go­ti­ate Panda gar­ment dis­pute set­tle­ment

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

EM­PLOY­EES and the own­ers of Panda Tex­tile Fac­tory in Man­dalay Re­gion say they will ac­cept the de­ci­sion of a ne­go­ti­at­ing team formed yes­ter­day to set­tle a drawn-out dis­pute be­tween the work­ers and fac­tory man­age­ment.

The Man­dalay Re­gion gov­ern­ment has formed the 12-mem­ber ne­go­ti­at­ing team. It in­cludes staff from the rel­e­vant re­gional labour ad­min­is­tra­tion depart­ment, the Min­istry of In­dus­try, MPs in the Pyithu Hlut­taw and the re­gional hlut­taw, and Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion Depart­ment of­fi­cials. The re­gional min­is­ters for nat­u­ral re­sources and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion, and elec­tric power, en­ergy and con­struc­tion, will take re­spon­si­bil­ity as team lead­ers.

“The de­sires of the em­ployer and work­ers must be re­ported to the ne­go­ti­a­tion team in a let­ter. We will ne­go­ti­ate what they re­port in ac­cor­dance with the law, and an em­ployer and work­ers agree­ment will be signed again,” said U Zarni Aung, who heads the ne­go­ti­a­tion team as minister for elec­tric power, en­ergy and con­struc­tion.

“The work­ers will be at work again peace­fully,” he added. “The em­ploy­ers will not be able to in­crease ex­ports to for­eign coun­tries if there is a worker dis­pute. Both sides will be bet­ter off af­ter the dis­pute is re­solved.”

Hun­dreds of fac­tory work­ers on June 3 be­gan a sit-in protest at the en­trance of the fac­tory com­pound, ac­cus­ing man­age­ment of cut­ting their pay and forc­ing them to work week­ends, in breach of their em­ploy­ment con­tract.

“We are sat­is­fied with the ne­go­ti­a­tion of the gov­ern­ment, I hope it will be suit­able be­cause we can work in the fac­tory un­der a tem­po­rary agree­ment be­tween em­ployer and em­ployee be­fore the em­ploy­ment con­tract we are de­mand­ing is signed,” said Ko Hla Ko, a leader of the fac­tory work­ers.

“Both sides to­day signed an agree­ment to ac­cept the de­ci­sion of the gov­ern­ment’s ne­go­ti­a­tion team. The sec­ond step is sub­mit­ting the points both sides want to demand to the ne­go­ti­a­tion team, and then sign a tem­po­rary agree­ment be­tween em­ployer and em­ployee,” he added.

The work­ers are de­mand­ing that the full terms of the orig­i­nal con­tract they signed when the fac­tory was pri­va­tised be hon­oured.

The Min­istry of In­dus­try in­vited a ten­der in 2012 to pri­va­tise what was then known as No 2 Tex­tile Fac­tory (Paleik).

The strik­ing fac­tory work­ers ear­lier this week threat­ened to march to Nay Pyi Taw to protest the lack of res­o­lu­tion in the pro­tracted labour dis­pute.

To­day marks the five-month an­niver­sary of the sit-in protest’s launch. – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

and Thiri Min Htun

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