Workers protest changes at privatised garment factory

Nearly 600 workers marched on Paleik in Singaing township yesterday, demanding the state reconsider an agreement that transferred a state-owned factory to the private sector.

Workers from Mandalay Region’s Panda textile and garment factory, who have been staging sit-in protests since June 3, say the new company is not holding up its end of the bargain on issues of worker accommodations, wages, and days off.

“After the factory moved to the private sector, the lives of our former civil servants have gotten worse in every way,” said Ma Zar Chi Win, the leader of workers. “The company is breaching the contract in many ways. We have to protest to get back our contracts. We are demanding the current government correct the errors of the previous government.”

The factory was formerly run by the Ministry of Industry as No 2 Textile and Garment Factory. Panda took it over under a 30-year lease, with an agreement to keep employing former civil servants after the privatisation.

Workers claim Panda is breaching the employment contract over issues relating to days off and they’re calling on the Ministry of Industry to uphold lifetime contracts for all the former public workers. Mandalay Region’s Department of Labour is suing the factory. The trial is scheduled to start on June 23, Ma Zar Chi Win said.

“We will keep on demanding that the company honour the employment contract signed when the factory was privatised,” she said.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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