Minimum Wage Fails to Keep Up With Cost of Living, Myanmar Labor Group Says
By Thazin Hlaing 1 November 2019
YANGON – While the current minimum wage is just 4,800 kyats (US$3.15) per day, the average cost of living per day is between 7,000 and 9,000 kyats, according to a survey by the Confederation of Trade Unions in Myanmar (CTUM).
The CTUM has been conducting the survey to support adjustments to the minimum wage. The sur-vey is mainly based on the cost of food, accommodation, health care and education.
It has conducted surveys in Yangon, Bago, Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe regions and Shan, Ka-chin and Karen states.
Ko Win Zaw, a member of the CTUM central committee, who is also on the National Committee for the Minimum Wage, said: “The per capita cost of living varies in different areas. We conducted sur-veys on monthly household expenditure and minimum per capita cost of living per day. The daily average is between 7,000 and 9,000 kyats.”
The survey covered those working in manufacturing, construction, mining, logging, agriculture and cargo-loading at ports.
The CTUM will announce the official results this month. According to the CTUM’s 2017 survey, the per capita cost of living per day was between 6,000 and 6,600 kyats.
The Minimum Wage Law was enacted in March 2013 and rules were introduced in July of that year.
Myanmar was able to fix a minimum wage for the first time in September 2015, at 450 kyats per hour and 3,600 kyats for an eight-hour working day, regardless of location and the type of job.
Despite the labor organizations’ call to increase the minimum wage to 5,600 kyats, the government in May 2018 set the new rate at 4,800 kyats.
The 2013 law requires an adjustment of the minimum wage every two years and the new rate will be set in May 2020.