Workers strike for immediate increase in minimum wage

Over500 workers of Jabp Jiawei Myanmar garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar, Yangon, organised a strike on Thursday demanding payment of the new minimum wage of K4800 (US$3.60) starting this month, according to strikers and factory officials.

“We are asking for implementation of the minimum wage of K4800 since it was announced already and only needs to be approved by the government,” Ma Sandar Myint, the leader of the protest, told The Myanmar Times.

The workers said factory officials are refusing to pay the new minimum wage.

The striking workers said they want the new minimum wage to be paid starting in March since other factories in the township have already started paying the new minimum wage in line with the increase in commodity prices.

“We just want the implementation of the new wage. We are not protesting. We demand what should be given to us,” Ma Sandar Myint said.

The workers said they had negotiated with factory officials to raise the minimum wage gradually starting in March if the factory could not afford to pay the full new wage of K4800 this month.

Ma San Thawdar Myin, the factory’s assistant manager, said the company has promised the workers it would pay the new minimum wage once the government approves it.

“We can pay the new minimum wage once officially approved by the government. But they want the new minimum wage to be implemented right now,” she said.

Factory officials said township labour department officials could not give them the exact date when the new minimum wage would come into force.

Ma Thaw Thaw, one of the striking workers, said they have sought the intervention of the township labour department to resolve the dispute.

“The workers want to be paid the new minimum wage because they have to return to their home towns during the Thingyan festival holidays,” she said.

Workers said they will get 10 days off for Thingyan holidays because they worked five extra days during their days off last month. The government has limited the official holiday period to five days.

The Jabp Jiawei Myanmar garment factory opened in industrial zone (2) in Hlaing Tharyar of Yangon eight months ago.

The factory says it has 900 workers, of which more than 500 are on strike.

The National Minimum Wage Committee approved K4800 as the minimum daily wage on March 5.

But according to regulations, the approved wage needs to be confirmed by the Union president to come into force.

All members of the committee hope the new minimum wage of K4800 will come into force starting in April, but they haven’t yet received confirmation from the president.

The sudden resignation of President U Htin Kyaw on Wednesday could lead to delay in its approval.

Source : Myanmar Times

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