Govt team to negotiate Panda garment dispute settlement
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