Po­lice hurt in hostage res­cue at protest by un­paid fac­tory work­ers

Mizzima Business Weekly - - NEWS ROUNDUPS -

Nine po­lice­men were in­jured as they tried to free of­fi­cials held hostage by dozens of angry work­ers de­mand­ing wages and com­pen­sa­tion after their fac­tory was closed, au­thor­i­ties said on Septem­ber 18.

More than 150 for­mer em­ploy­ees con­verged on the Master Sport shoe fac­tory on the out­skirts of Yan­gon on Septem­ber 16, de­mand­ing pay­ment fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the South Korean-owned op­er­a­tion in June.

U Kyaw Kyaw Tun, an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the Min­istry of Labour, Em­ploy­ment and So­cial Se­cu­rity's fac­to­ries depart­ment, said five gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials ar­rived hop­ing to defuse the sit­u­a­tion, but were taken hostage by the work­ers.

"They (work­ers) said they had been wait­ing so long and that they wouldn't let them go if they didn't get their salaries by the end of this month. But they didn't harm them," he told AFP.

The of­fi­cials – three from the min­istry and two from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties – were held late into the night, with clashes be­tween po­lice and pro­test­ers dur­ing their res­cue leav­ing nine of­fi­cers in­jured, U Kyaw Kyaw Tun said.

Two po­lices of­fi­cers were still in hos­pi­tal in se­ri­ous con­di­tion, he added.

State-run me­dia said most of the pro­test­ers were women, which had pre­sented a chal­lenge for the po­lice han­dling the angry crowd.

"We had to re­lax our po­lice rules on crowd man­age­ment to the low­est level," Po­lice Lieu­tenant-Colonel Myint Lwint, was quoted as say­ing in the state-con­trolled NewLightof­Myan­mar. The English-lan­guage news­pa­per said po­lice were con­sid­er­ing whether to pur­sue crim­i­nal charges against any of the work­ers.

The re­port also said the min­istry had filed a law­suit against the fac­tory after it closed with­out in­form­ing or pay­ing its 757 em­ploy­ees, who were seek­ing wages and com­pen­sa­tion.

U Kyaw Kyaw Tun said work­ers have been promised they will re­ceive their wages on Novem­ber 1, after the fac­tory is auc­tioned by the state.

But U Moe Wai, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the work­ers and a for­mer em­ployee at the fac­tory, told the NewLightof Myan­mar that the Master Sport staff could not wait months for the is­sue to be re­solved. (AFP)

Pro­test­ers out­side the South Korean em­bassy in Yan­gon on July 17 de­mand­ing com­pen­sa­tion for em­ploy­ees of the Master Sport shoe fac­tory, which was shut down the pre­vi­ous month, cost­ing about 755 peo­ple their jobs. The pro­test­ers had marched the 6.2...

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