Workers ask government to monitor wage hike implementation

Following the decision by the National Committee for the Minimum Wage to increase the daily basic wage to K4800, a campaign has been organised to call for the government to strictly enforce its implementation.

The Myanmar Labor Union for Industrial and Various Services led a campaign rally at the open park on Sunday, said U Thet Hnin Aung, general secretary of the organisation.

“After the minimum wage was set, employers reduced the other allowances of workers. We have seen such actions before,” he said.

“The Ministry of Labour did not take any action, as they are concerned with the management of employers. But this time, we organised a campaign to challenge this practice,” he added.

The National Committee for the Minimum Wage increased the minimum wage from K3600 (US$2.70) to K4800 per day in early March. Once the Union government formally agrees to it, the increase will be approved and implemented immediately.

“Before the minimum wage was set at K3600 per day, employers would pay for ferry fees, full attendance allowance, services allowance and good performance awards,” U Thet Hnin Aung said. “But after the minimum wage was raised in 2015, they stopped allocating these allowances.”

He cited a factory in Mandalay that stopped providing K30,000 performance awards after the minimum wage was first enforced.

“The allowances were incorporated in the new minimum wage increase. Thus workers had their salary increased but not fully, as they lost the complementary allowances,” he said. “The only sure thing is that commodity prices keep rising.”

The campaigners issued five demands regarding the minimum wage: to set the latter at no less than K5600, for employers to respect Minimum Wage Law section 14(a), to resolve disputes with workers quickly, to eradicate corruption and to set service allowances and skills allowances.

Called the Hello campaign, it started in Mandalay and will be extended to Yangon in cooperation with labour unions, said U Thet Hnin Aung.

“Our allowance stopped when our salary increased. We do not want it anymore. We want the set minimum wage and also to receive our former allowances,” said worker Ko Maung Lwin.

If employers fail to follow section 14(a) of the Minimum Wage Law, They are liable to a maximum of three years in jail and a K500,000 fine, U Thet Hnin Aung said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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