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12 Okt 2022

The Irrawaddy

Myanmar: Over 1,000 garment workers at adidas supplier demand wage increase amid rising living costs

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"Adidas shoe factory workers demand salary increase", 12 October 2022

Thousands of workers at the Burmese...shoe factory in Shwe Pytha Township, Yangon Province, where Adidas brand shoes are manufactured, said that they will make collective demands if they do not find a place to negotiate with the factory to increase their wages above the minimum wage.

The current salary is 4,800 kyats per day, and now that the price of goods has risen exponentially, they are asking for an increase of at least 7,500 to 8,000 kyats to meet their daily living needs.

An employee of the Burmese pound shoe factory said, "Prices are 2 times higher. I'm not satisfied with this salary when it's 3 times higher, I just have to eat less food. There are people who cannot eat properly. The food cost was about 40,000 before, but now it is close to 100,000...I used to eat a lot before, but now I have to eat less," he said.

The factory workers sent a notice to negotiate with the factory in September, but there was no negotiation on salary, so they made another request this month, and if the negotiation is not successful within the next 10 days, they will continue with the collective request.

There are around 1,000 workers in the factory with more than 7,000 workers who are demanding a wage increase. If negotiations are not resolved, between 500 and 1,000 workers will stop working in the factory yard and make a collective demand.

On the side of the employers, they replied that they can raise the minimum wage only if the state sets the minimum wage. Workers were issued shopping coupon cards worth 11,000 kyats that can only be purchased at Orange Shopping Center. The shopping coupons are not easy to use, so the workers are asking for a wage increase instead of the coupons...

The Irrawaddy news agency contacted the...factory by phone to inquire about these issues, but was unable to contact them.

A local labor activist said that the minimum wage rate set by the state in 2018 only prohibits lowering the minimum wage below 4,800, so it is necessary to raise a rate that is equal to the current changing commodity prices...