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Workers win wage victory in Myanmar

18 March, 2014Collective bargaining by a Myanmar union has succeeded in securing a 20 per cent wage increase for workers at the Yes 1 Garment factory in the country’s industrial centre, Yangon.

After tense and drawn-out negotiations, Korean factory owners agreed to a wage increase of US$26 (25,000 Myanmar Kyats) to raise the maximum monthly salary from US$124 to US$150 a month.

The contract was signed on 13 March 2014 by the Yes 1 Garment Basic Labor Organization and factory director, Kim Yaung Hon.

Yes 1 Garment Factory, which is located at Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, employs 1,600 workers of which 1,200 are union members.

The wage proposal, which took into consideration workers’ living costs, was formulated in an IndustriALL Global Union training workshop attended by the union’s woman president, Win Theinghi Soe, as well as other Executive Committee members in December 2013.

There are approximately 400 garment factories in Myanmar employing more than 200,000 workers and the numbers are growing. In 2013 alone, 200 new factories were set-up. Many brands are now eyeing Myanmar as a new country to source and manufacture their products due to cheap labour costs.