31 August, 2021IndustriALL Global Union has announced its support for the campaign by Myanmar’s unions calling for comprehensive economic sanctions against the military junta.
The announcement was made during a webinar on the “Campaign for comprehensive economic sanctions against Myanmar’s military junta” on 27 August, bringing together trade union leaders, civil society and brand representatives from around the world.
Myanmar’s labour movement says there is no ethical way to do business in the country and is calling for comprehensive sanctions, and for companies – including fashion brands – to divest and cease their operations in Myanmar.
Since the military coup in February, thousands of workers have been arrested, over 950 people have been killed, and the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 left 1,500 bodies in Yangon in one day alone in July. Under the military regime, workers in Myanmar are denied the right to freedom of association, health and safety and freedom of speech.
Representatives of the Myanmar Labour Alliance, Khaing Zar, Moe Sandar Myint and Nandar Sit Aung, exposed severe violations of workers’ rights in Myanmar: trade unionists have been dismissed when employers have collaborated with the authorities, collective agreements have not been respected, and Covid-19 protocols not followed.
Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary, said:
“The situation in Myanmar is certainly not a normal situation; people are killed and tortured, workers cannot go to work due to repression. How can workers’ rights be protected in that kind of extreme situation?
“That is why we support the campaign calling for comprehensive economic sanctions, spearheaded by our affiliate Industrial Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (IWFM), our partners Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) and the Myanmar Labour Alliance. Economic sanctions proved to be effective in ending apartheid in South Africa and could be so in Myanmar.”
IndustriALL textile and garment sector director Christina Hajagos-Clausen stressed the importance of maintaining a dialogue with brands sourcing from Myanmar on human rights violations, due diligence and how to withdraw orders responsibly.
Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary, said:
“You are not alone in the fight for democracy in Myanmar. Global union federations are organizing a global day of action on 15 September to demand the restoration of the civilian government in Myanmar. The ITUC supports the campaign for comprehensive sanctions and will take solidarity action to demand that banks to stop international transfers to Myanmar.”
What can you do?
- Call on brands and multinational companies to cease business operations and stop placing new orders in Myanmar
- Organize demonstrations or press conferences at the offices of multinational companies with a presence in Myanmar
- Take photos with a solidarity message and share on social media with the hashtag #Workers4Myanmar
- Hand over memoranda to ASEAN embassies in your country to put pressure on multinationals
- Reach out to media to highlight the campaign and the plight of Myanmar workers