Myanmar: Wait continues for specification of new minimum wage

U Myo Aung, Director-General of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare, told Mizzima that it is hard to estimate when the new minimum wage for Myanmar workers will be announced.

“We are working hard to get this task completed, as establishing a new minimum wage is highly important,” he said. “Each job [that this wage would impact] is very different in nature, so we have much to consider. That is why it is hard to estimate the exact amount of time this project will take.”

Protests have been arising in the wake of the continued delays in announcing the wage. Workers are reporting that they are having difficulty collecting their salaries or asking for raises.

“In the drugstore [that I work in], I have to work as a buyer and also as sales staff, but my salary is only 50,000 kyats,” said Daw Thidar, a local employee. “I cannot request to raise my salary as there are frequent turnovers in our staff. Once the minimum wage law is put into place, I will be able to get the minimum salary without having to wait for other members of staff to ask for it as well.”

U Tin Than Oo, an economic and legal consultant, told Mizzima that it has already been over six months since the government issued a bylaw concerning the minimum wage; however, it still has not been made into law because of several weaknesses in its construction.

“The bylaw was made after much analysis of the rate of wages and discussions of salaries which would cover the living expenses of the average worker,” he commented. “However, there are still several places where the analysis and feedback from businesses can be improved.”

Daw Khine Khine New, general secretary of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), said that discussions between employers, labor committees, and the Ministry of Labour are needed to finalize the minimum wage specification process.

“We have already formed a committee that will consult and carry out the final implementation of a new minimum wage,” she said, “but all three parties need to agree on final terms and specifications.”

Meetings to negotiate the minimum wage were held from 3 to 6 October at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare, in Nay Pyi Taw.

Source: Mizzima News Myanmar

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