Workers to Sue Mandalay Factory in Labor Dispute

By Zarni Mann 3 January 2014

MANDALAY — Workers at a Mandalay biscuit factory said they are planning to file a lawsuit against the factory owner, who they accuse of breaching a labor condition agreement and forcing them to work long hours and on holidays.

In early December, about 130 workers at Thazin Biscuit Factory, located in Pyigyidagun’s industrial zone in Mandalay, organized a protest in order to demand better working conditions.

During negotiations, brokered by the Mandalay Division’s Labor Department, workers reached an agreement with the factor owner, who promised to address their demands for better pay for working overtime and time off during national holidays and on Sundays.

This week, however, protests resumed as laborers claimed that the factory had failed to keep to the agreement.

“We already have the agreement that we don’t work on Sunday, but 26 workers were fired last week as they did not come to work on Sunday,” said Thandar Lwin, one of the protesting workers.

“They complained to the factory, but the administration gave no answer and only said that we will have to work on Sunday,” she added.

Thandar Lwin said the workers now wanted to file a lawsuit against the factory. “There are 15 points in our agreements. The factory is still not following the agreement,” she said. “We just want justice. That’s why we are protesting again and now preparing for a lawsuit. We will consult with lawyers.”

Aung Kyaw Oo, secretary of the Mandalay Division labor department, said officials could do little to resolve the dispute, as the factory was breaching the agreement that was signed last month. “We are no longer able to negotiate between them,” he said. “If one party broke the agreement another party can prepare the lawsuit to solve the problem.”