Premier Coffee Sued for Breaking Labor Laws

By San Yamin Aung 29 June 2016

RANGOON — The Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Premier Coffee for breaking labor laws and regulations.

Nyunt Win, one of ministry’s spokespersons and deputy director of the Factories and General Labor Laws Inspection Department under the ministry, told The Irrawaddy that they received complaints from about 300 workers from the Premier Coffee factory in Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone who claimed that the company failed to give days off or provide full payment for overtime hours worked.

He said that under Burma’s 1951 Leave and Holiday Act, employers must allow for at least one day off each week without cutting salaries. But, the company failed to provide time off or full payment for overtime in accordance with the law, which also states that overtime is to be paid at twice the standard rate.

“As we found the complaints to be true, we filed the case against the company owner and HR manager of the factory at Hlaing Tharyar Township Court on Tuesday and the court accepted the case,” the deputy director said.

The popular local coffee is a brand of the Capital Diamond Star Group, a conglomerate owned by Burmese businessman Ko Ko Gyi. The firm runs many businesses including Grab and Go convenience stores, Capital Hypermarket and import and export businesses.

Nyunt Win said that the Factories and General Labor Laws Inspection Department filed the suit because the company violated labor laws directly related to the department.

He said that they receive the most complaints against garment factories; this is the first time they have heard complaints about Premier coffee.

If the company is found guilty, the minimum punishment is three months imprisonment and a 2 million kyat fine (over US$1,600) under the 1951 Factories Act.