Protesters Injured in Labor Dispute

By Htun Htun 16 October 2018

YANGON — Six people were seriously injured in a beating of employees on strike at a Chinese factory in Yangon and were hospitalized, said strike leaders on Monday evening.

A group of men beat employees who had joined a sit-down strike at the west gate of Fu Yun Garment Factory in Dagon Seikkan Township against the dismissal of their colleagues on Monday morning. More than 20 were injured in the beating.

More than 200 workers, most of them young women, are on strike.

The Yangon Youth Network sent a letter to social affairs minister U Naing Ngan Lin of the Yangon regional government on Tuesday, asking him to intervene, saying that violence against them seriously harms their dignity and modesty.

“I heard that two were injured on their heads and had to be stitched. But it is a rumor that a pregnant woman was stabbed. I request not to spread rumors under such circumstances,” said U Aung Myint, a supporter of the strike.

The beating was followed by a fight between local residents and those who beat the employees.

“The strike will continue unless our demands are met,” said strike leader Ma Thet Htar Swe.

Employees have been on a strike since the management of the factory sacked 30 members of the factory’s labor union, calling for their re-employment.

The management said that the dismissal was in line with its employment contract and that only those who loafed on the job, breached the contract, were absent without leave, and instigated to disrupt production were let go.

At the press conference on Monday, strike leaders said that they would open a case with the police, and claimed that they were beaten by a group of men.

But, the Yangon Region Police Force said that the fighting was between two groups of workers, as workers on strike asked their colleagues who were still working at the factory to join the strike.

Nine working employees— a man and eight women—suffered minor injuries in the fight and 23 workers on strike were also injured, seven of whom are receiving treatment as in-patients at Thingangyun Hospital, said the police.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.