Draw­backs of pri­vati­sa­tion

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - ZAW ZAW HTWE za­wza­[email protected]­times.com

Work­ers of a for­mer state-owned jute fac­tory in Yan­gon on Wed­nes­day sit out­side the fac­tory af­ter they were dis­missed by the own­ers who took over the fac­tory in 2012 as part of the gov­ern­ment pri­vati­sa­tion pro­gramme.

THE man­age­ment of a for­mer sta­te­owned jute fac­tory in Yan­gon on Wed­nes­day sacked over 300 work­ers who have been em­ployed for over 30 years, say­ing they are fac­ing losses and will shut down the fa­cil­ity.

“Fac­tory of­fi­cials told us they have to close the fac­tory and dis­miss us be­cause they have been suf­fer­ing losses,” said U Soe Lwin, a fac­tory union leader.

U Soe Lwin, who is also a vicechair­man of the Myan­mar In­dus­tries Craft and Ser­vices Trades Unions Fed­er­a­tion (MICS-TusF), said that when the present pri­vate man­age­ment of the Kyaw Htet Kyaw Com­pany took over in 2012, they vowed to keep the fac­tory run­ning.

How­ever, the com­pany did not con­tinue the jute pro­duc­tion busi­ness and has been mak­ing money by rent­ing out the part of the fac­tory as storege space, as well as rent­ing out plot of lands owned by the fac­tory for car parks and a golf course, U Soe Lwin said.

“We only want our jobs back. If com­pany can’t run the jute busi­ness, they must re­turn the fac­tory and the work­ers to the gov­ern­ment. It is un­ac­cept­able if they con­tinue run­ning their other busi­nesses while fir­ing us,” he said.

The work­ers said the pri­vate com­pany had not made any in­vest­ments in jute plant­ing and pro­duc­tion.

“I want to keep work­ing here. It is dif­fi­cult for us to find other job as we are old. We have in­vested our lives here over sev­eral decades” said Daw Phyu Phyu Htwe, who has been em­ployed at the fac­tory for 33 years.

She also said that all the work­ers re­ceived pro­mo­tions, skills fees, ser­vices fees and other al­lowances when the state was run­ning the fac­tory.

Fac­tory of­fi­cials said that they had al­ready an­nounced as early last Au­gust that they planned to close the fac­tory be­cause of losses but they ex­tended the op­er­a­tions for five more months due to gov­ern­ment me­di­a­tion and sym­pa­thy to the work­ers.

They said their ac­tion is based on the ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions of the Labour Min­istry.

The head of the fac­tory de­clined to com­ment on the is­sue.

The jute fac­tory and its com­pound are lo­cated in Okkyin Ward in Hlaing Town­ship in Yan­gon.

The 314 for­mer em­ploy­ees gath­ered in front of the gate as they were pro­hib­ited from en­ter­ing the fac­tory.

Union lead­ers said that they plan to hold protests if the dis­pute is not be set­tled.

PHOTO: ZARNI PHYO

Photo: Zarni Phyo

Work­ers from Kyaw Htet Aung com­pany sit in front of fac­tory.

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