Sacked Factory Workers Plan Yangon City Hall Protest

By Thazin Hlaing 23 June 2017

YANGON —Workers from a garment factory in Mingaladon Industrial Zone opposing the firing of more than 400 employees this month will protest outside Yangon City Hall on Saturday.

About 1,500 workers of the factory run by Honeys Garment Industry Ltd (1) will join the rally, according to its organizers. The factory workers have been protesting outside the factory since Monday.

The employees said they were sacked after they failed to meet the demands of the Japanese factory’s management, which reportedly ordered each employee to make 75 pieces of clothing per hour.

Workers said they toiled for 10 hours each day without breaks in order to meet the demands.

“We had to tailor 750 pieces of garment each per day,” said Ma Zin Poe Ei, one of the dismissed workers. “We had to work against time to meet this demand.”

The management refused the workers’ request to set the rate at 500 and also reduced meal allowances and bonuses, she added. Employees failed to meet the demand because of changes to the design of the garments, she explained, and the dismissals soon followed.

The workers filed a complaint with the Mingaladon Township Industrial Dispute Arbitration Committee, which then intervened, but the management stated it would only return the jobs if the workers could meet the demand.

Some other employees joined the sacked factory workers in their protest outside the workplace this week, but the factory is still in operation.

“We are demanding all the workers get their jobs back. We resort to a protest because it is the only way to make our voices heard,” said factory worker Ma Yin Myo Thu.

“In fact, we wanted to stage a protest in front of the Japanese embassy, but the police said that it would impact the friendship between the two countries, so we had to plan the protest in front of the city hall,” added Ma Zin Poe Ei.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.