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17 Nov 2023

Kyaw Kyaw Win, Myanmar Labour News

Myanmar: Garment workers forced to provide medical prescription to request leave

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KARISMA Apparel Garment Factory asking for a medical prescription beyond the casual leave provisions of the law, 17 November 2023

Bagu-based Karisma Apparel (Myanmar) Co.,ltd Garment factory workers said that the factory officials [have]...medical [requirements that are] beyond the law when [workers] ask for...so most of the workers are being labeled absent....

"The factory says to bring [a medical prescription] if we asks for...casual leave. This leave does not require a prescription. Only medical leave would [require this]. So...[w]e are being labeled absent for...not [being] able to show the prescription," said one of the workers...

"At the factory, casual leave cannot be [taken] the day before [or after] Sunday. We can't get a casual leave on Saturday and...Monday...," they said...

A worker of Karisma Apparel (Myanmar) garment factory said that... their daily wages [and]...attendance bonus are being cut.

"4,800 kyats per day is cut for missing a single day. Even if we get overtime, it won't exceed 200,000 kyats per month. It's difficult if the[y] cut the daily wages because of [my] children's expenses...The workers take leave only when they need it. Since the seniority leave is paid, it means we take the casual leave only for an an emergency. Seems like we have to have health issues to get the casual leave,” she said.

Karisma Apparel (Myanmar) workers said that when the factory was closed for a few days when Bagu City was flooded, the factory said they would not cut wages for those days off, but some workers did not receive their full wages...

Karisma Apparel (Myanmar) workers said that the factory...knows the names of individuals...who have complained to the Bagu Township Labor Law Office about the right[s] violations by phone.

"The factory would find [our] phone number if we complain to the labor office by hotline. If we make a complaint in person, the factory already knows before we even get outside the office. The factory didn't fire those [workers] immediately but they had to leave [the] job because of the many inconveniences in the workplace. Workers are losing their jobs because of the violations of ethics by the Bagu labor office officials," she said.

Factory workers said that although the EC contract of Karisma Apparel (Myanmar) Garment Factory has included a [transport] program, it has not been carried out according to the contract.

"They only appoint a few people to work overtime on Saturday. On those days, the factory does not provide [transport]. We have to get back [by ourselves]. Bago Industrial Zone is [a] far distance from the city...

If the overtime for the first day is 4 hours, the OT fee will be 4,800 kyats. The fee for going back home is 2,000 kyats. The overtime fee is already gone there. This is a breach of contract..." said a worker...

The workers said that Karisma Apparel (myanmar) Co., Zone is located near Nyaung Inn village, Bago Industrial Zone, Bago City and currently manufacturing the LIDL brand with around 1,300 workers. It is also reported that the factory is owned by a Hong Kong Chinese, and the Workplace Coalition Committee WCC has been formed within the factory.