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19 Mar 2021

Tula Connell, Solidarity Center

Myanmar: At least two union members and six workers killed by the military in one week, union leaders report

See all tags Allegations

"Workers killed in Myanmar as crackdown intensifies", 19 March 2021

At least two union members were confirmed killed by the Myanmar military this week and at least six workers were shot dead at the Xing Jia shoe factory in the Hlaing Thar Yar industrial zone Tuesday, according to union leaders. The factory workers, including the woman leader, were shot after the employer called the police when they demanded unpaid wages. Seventy workers were arrested and loaded onto two prisoner trucks.

Union leaders say the police and military violence against protesters in the industrial zones is much worse than is being reported because nationwide internet service repeatedly has been cut, including on Sunday before a violent crackdown...

The military is now targeting workers on several fronts, moving into industrial zones and declaring martial law. The military also issued a public statement that public-sector workers must return to work by Monday or they will be criminally charged.

Nearly all factories in the Yangon area, including in major industrial zones, have closed, and union leaders report a mass exodus of factory workers from the industrial zones to their hometown rural villages.

The military is asking factory owners to disclose the names and addresses of trade union leaders to arrest them, and soldiers are going door to door in the worker dormitories and hostels in a bid to find them, according to Khaing Zar Aung, president of the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar (IWFM).

Key union leaders of CTUM and affiliated unions were forced into hiding after the military issued a secret list of 27 trade union leaders to be persecute, she writes...