Workers Replaced by Automation Demand Jobs Back

By Thazin Hlaing 16 March 2017

RANGOON — Despite negotiations on Tuesday, management and employees of the Myanmar Mayson Industries Co. Ltd. did not reach an agreement regarding a massive dismissal of factory workers.

Myanmar Mayson Industries Co. Ltd., which manufactures Good Morning brand bread and pastries, fired 193 workers from its factory in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone on March 8, stating that it was automating its production process.

Around 400 workers, including the dismissed employees, staged a sit-in protest in front of the factory that began on March 9.

“We could not negotiate an agreement. The factory owner did not show up. He sent a representative who was not authorized to make decisions. So we had to proceed to Rangoon Division [industrial dispute settlement] arbitration,” said Ko Zaw Lin Khaing, chairman of the factory’s trade union.

U Kyaw Kyaw, the secretary of the trade union, said the workers were made redundant without prior notice.

The Irrawaddy was not able to obtain a comment from company management.

“The employer is in the wrong. The strike happened because they [the employer] did as they wished without carefully consulting with employees and employee leaders,” said Ma Win Theingi Soe, an arbitrator on the Hlaing Tharyar Township industrial dispute settlement arbitration committee.

According to the workers, many who were dismissed had worked at the factory for more than 10 years, some for nearly 20 years since the establishment of the factory.

Management has said compensation would be provided but workers said they wanted their jobs back and would continue to protest until they were re-employed.