Mytel Employees Protest Unpaid Wages

By Salai Thant Zin 31 May 2019

PATHEIN—Employees of telecom operator Mytel staged a protest against the military-affiliated company over pay disputes in Pathein, the Irrawaddy Region capital, Thursday.

In early 2018, Mytel contracted Hsan Myo Aung Co. to install fiber cable in Hinthada Township, who hired laborers and completed the job in April of that year; more than a year later, those workers have still not been paid.

Mytel is Myanmar’s fourth telecom operator after MPT, Telenor and Ooredoo. It is a joint venture consisting of Star High Public Co. Ltd, owned by Myanma Economic Corporation under the Myanmar Ministry of Defense; Myanmar National Telecom Holdings, a Myanmar consortium comprising 11 companies; and the Vietnamese telecom company Viettel.

“We staged a protest for employees to get their wages. It has been one year since the job was done. We haven’t got a sou. We have asked the Pathein and Yangon offices of Mytel and departmental officials to pay. We have asked 20 times,” said protest leader U Aung Teza Tun. “They said they would pay but haven’t. That’s why we staged a protest.”

According to Hsan Myo Aung Co., Mytel owes more than 20 workers around 40 million kyats combined.

“As we had no skilled workers, we had to outsource. When our foreman asked the company, they said they would pay 40 percent of the wages after Thingyan [Myanmar New Year’s Festival]. I have a signed contract with the workers saying that I would pay them within 72 hours of Mytel making the payment. Now I am in trouble,” said director U Ye Htut Lin of Hsan Myo Aung Co.

Asked about the protest, Mytel officials in Pathein declined to comment.

Workers said they will file a complaint with President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi if Mytel does not make payments in the next few days.

At Mytel’s official launch—held on Feb. 11, 2018 and attended by Myanmar Army Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing—the company said it would invest up to US$1.3 billion in Myanmar.

According to Viettel, Mytel had 5 million subscribers by the end of 2018 in Myanmar.

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