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Myanmar: call for social dialogue over dismissals

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18 June, 2020Industrial Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) is urging Jia Hao Fashion Industry to immediately engage in social dialogue over the dismissal of 79 workers and continuous protests outside their factory in Myanmar’s capital Yangon.

On 11 June, more than 400 leather workers at Jia Hao went on strike in protest of the dismissal of 79 workers. The dismissed workers include the factory union president and all the executive committee members. The company says that the redundancy plan was necessary as there was not enough raw materials for production and work orders had dropped.

But the dismissals happened after local union leaders had filed a complaint to the Labour department over unpaid wages in May.

As the management of Jia Hao refused to negotiate with the local union leaders and locked down the factory for more than 400 workers, the workers had no choice but to hold the strike at the entrance of the company in heavy rain.

IWFM president Khaing Zar says:

"IWFM wants an urgent intervention from the government and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to resolve the dispute. The company has committed numerous violations of labour rights and the current safety and health practice might expose 400 workers to the risk of Covid-19.

“The company should explore other options, such as applying for the EU Myan Ku fund. For companies affected by the pandemic and forced to shut down, the fund will pay workers at least half of the minimum wage.”

IndustriALL is urging Jia Hao to reconsider the decision and heed the call of International Labour Organization that fighting Covid-19 and economic shock requires full cooperation of employers, trade unions and the government through social dialogue.