Jute fac­tory prom­ises to com­pen­sate work­ers

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

Ex­ec­u­tives of a Yan­gon jute fac­tory that closed down amid heavy losses says the com­pany will com­pen­sate more than 300 work­ers it dis­missed.

EX­EC­U­TIVES of a jute fac­tory that folded in 2015 due to losses of up to K700 mil­lion (US$460,000) an­nu­ally said Sun­day they would com­pen­sate the over 300 em­ploy­ees they dis­missed last week, in­sist­ing the clo­sure was nec­es­sary.

“We lost K600 mil­lion to K700 mil­lion ev­ery year in op­er­at­ing ex­penses, in­clud­ing wages for work­ers,” said U Hla Thein, di­rec­tor of fi­nance for Kyaw Htet Kyaw Co, which ran the for­mer state-owned jute fac­tory.

Kyaw Htet Kyaw sacked 314 work­ers on Jan­uary 9, and the work­ers are de­mand­ing that the com­pany re­hire them.

The ex­ec­u­tives said the com­pany had a long-term con­tract since 2012 to lease the jute fac­tory and its over 50.5 hectare (125 acre) com­pound for K350 mil­lion a year.

Ac­cord­ing to the work­ers and the com­pany, the 314 fac­tory work­ers quit as gov­ern­ment staff and took pen­sions from the gov­ern­ment when the fac­tory was trans­ferred to the pri­vate com­pany in 2012.

The ex­ec­u­tives said they had to close the fac­tory in 2015 be­cause of poor de­mand for jute and a short­age of raw ma­te­ri­als.

They noted that jute farm­ers had shifted to other crops that gave them more profit.

They said they have re­vised the lease agree­ment with the gov­ern­ment so they can run other busi­nesses to em­ploy the work­ers.

Al­though the com­pany has been al­lowed by the Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion to run other busi­nesses in the fac­tory com­pound, it can­not start new busi­nesses be­cause the land had been con­fis­cated by the gov­ern­ment af­ter the 1962 coup.

They added that the Agri­cul­ture and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­part­ment, which rented the fac­tory to the com­pany, did not have the rights to the land.

“All work­ers have been paid for over six years de­spite the fac­tory hav­ing no earn­ings. The com­pany could no longer shoul­der this bur­den,” jute fac­tory man­ager U Myo Tin said.

The ex­ec­u­tives said they shut down the fac­tory with the per­mis­sion of the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs, Min­istry of Labour, Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Live­stock and Ir­ri­ga­tion, and the Yan­gon re­gional gov­ern­ment.

Work­ers at the fac­tory ear­lier said the com­pany is earn­ing a lot of money ev­ery month by rent­ing out the com­pound to other busi­nesses for park­ing, stor­age fa­cil­i­ties, and a golf course. But the ex­ec­u­tives said they just con­tin­ued the busi­nesses started by the de­part­ment when it took over the fac­tory.

Among the busi­nesses the com­pany plans to un­der­take are a con­ven­tion cen­tre, vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­tre, con­tainer yard, com­mer­cial com­plex, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals fac­tory, cold stor­age, ac­cord­ing to U Win Paing, the com­pany’s mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor.

Photo: Thiri Lu

Ex­ec­u­tives of Kyaw Htet Kyaw Co. hold a press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

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