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Garment manufacturer in Myanmar uses Covid-19 to bust union

14 July, 2020Kamcaine Manufacturing in Myanmar is using the ongoing pandemic as an excuse for union busting in its factory in Yangon, dismissing 57 workers, all members of IndustriALL affiliate IWFM.

On 12 March, Kamcaine dismissed 57 members of Industrial Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (IWFM), blaiming reduced orders due to Covid-19. The 57 include all seven union executive members of the union.

IWFM leaders have been in discussions with the management for a solution, but the company refuses to pay any compensation to the dismissed workers and will only rehire them as new workers. 

The company denies unionbusting and claim that the layoffs have been implemented indiscriminately and randomly.

IWFM president Khaing Zar disagrees:

“It is complete nonsense. Kamcaine has made several attempts to destroy the union since February. Local union leaders were dismissed without solid reason, bribery has been used to divide the union, and workers staying in the company hostel were forced to leave the union if they wanted to remain in the hostel.

“The strongest evidence of unionbusting is that, soon after the dismissal of our active members, the company recruited new workers to fill the vacancies. No redundancy plan should be carried out without proper consultation with the union.”

IndustriALL director of textile and garment industry Christina Hajagos-Clausen says:

“Kamcaine is clearly violating garment workers’ rights. It refuses to engage with the trade union and find a remedy, violating the ‘zero tolerance’ provision in the FOA guideline.

We are contacting brands producing at the factory to find a resolution to the dispute.”

IndustriALL Global Union has written to Kamcaine to call for the immediately reinstatement of the 57 workers with full wages and benefits, and that the company complies with the Freedom of Association Guidelines signed by Kamcaine's clients.