Plywood Factory Protestors Send Representatives to Naypyidaw

By Zarni Mann 6 May 2016

MANDALAY — Protestors from a plywood factory in the Sagaing Industrial Zone sent representatives to Naypyidaw on Friday, following an invitation from the director general of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security.

“Five representatives are on their way to meet with the director general, parliamentarians and other responsible parties from the plywood factory to talk about our rights,” said Hnin Aung, one of the protestors.

The invitation letter from the director general, Myo Aung, said a meeting would be held at the ministry’s office to negotiate with Myanmar Veneer Plywood Private Ltd., in order to resolve the labor issues.

Meanwhile, the remaining workers reached Wundwin Township in Mandalay Division on Friday, and continued their march to Naypyidaw.

Protestors said local administrative authorities have mistreated them along the way, and monasteries where they had planned to rest were pressured by authorities not to accept them.

“If local authorities want to arrest us, we do not care. If they do not want us to sleep in monasteries, we will sleep on the side on the road,” said Hnin Aung, adding, “We will march until the labor rights abuses are solved.”

Dozens of workers, both men and women, began marching from Sagaing Division to Naypyidaw late last month, hoping to meet President Htin Kyaw to urge him to resolve the dispute.

The workers have asked the plywood factory to reduce daily work hours from 12 to 8, and to re-employ workers who had been fired after fronting the initial protest.