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31 Mar 2021

China Labour Bulletin

Myanmar: Workers report labour violations in garment factories incl. union busting & physical violence; incl. co. response

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"Myanmar trade unions fighting to protect workers’ rights during the military crackdown", 31 March 2021

Trade unions in Myanmar are fighting to ensure that the labour rights of the hundreds of thousands of workers who have been at the forefront of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) are protected. And they are urging the international brands who purchase goods from supplier factories in Myanmar to do the same.

Some of those brands are signatories to the Freedom of Association (FOA) guidelines for their operations in Myanmar, which are part of the ACT  (Action, Collaboration, Transformation on living wages)...

The Industrial Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (IWFM)...is putting pressure on...Lidl, an ACT member, to take responsibility for the union busting at Sung Bo... The factory dismissed 135 workers on 21 February after they left work to participate in the CDM.  

Sung Bo initially agreed to reinstate only 65 of the workers, none of whom were union members. IWFM supported the workers through one month of negotiations, and the dismissed workers eventually accepted compensation in lieu of reinstatement, in an amount totalling US$19,407...

The union is also following another case at a Lidl supplier factory in the Myaungtagar industrial zone...Able Better garment factory produces Livergy brand products sold in Lidl stores...

On 19 February, a worker employed as a Chinese translator was beaten by Able Better managers after negotiations had taken place over the payment of wage arrears. The workers leading the negotiations filed a complaint with the local police station, but the case has been not satisfactorily resolved. This was also not the first time these same managers had beaten workers at the factory, and IWFM wants Lidl to intervene...