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Article

26 Oct 2021

Author:
IndustriALL

Myanmar: Unions call for the suspension of EU trade preferences following the attempted military coup

"Myanmar: Trade unions call for immediate withdrawal of EU trade preferences in light of labour and human rights abuses", 26 October 2021.

Today, industriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global Union, on behalf of trade unions across the globe, have contacted the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council, asking them to immediately withdraw Myanmar’s trade preferences under the EU’s EBA scheme...

Since the coup d’état on 1 February 2021, the military junta in Myanmar has conducted a reign of terror, targeting workers and industrialised zones. Trade unionists and workers trying to raise their legitimate concerns via demonstrations have been hounded by the military and many trade union leaders have been forced into hiding, with several being arrested and many having their passports declared void.

It is established that around 300,000 workers have already been dismissed for joining the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)...

The EU’s General Scheme of Preferences (GSP), of which EBAs are one example, is promoted by the European Commission as a means in which EU trade can be used to create jobs in developing countries. Trade unions support the overarching aims of the GSP, including the goal to increase labour rights and working conditions for those in some of the world’s poorest countries.

However, trade unions insist that sanctions must also be used in light of the dreadful labour and human rights abuses in order for the GSP to have a real impact.

Both organisations support the joint call from Myanmar’s trade union movement – the CTUM and IWFM – on Multinational Enterprises to divest from Myanmar, while ensuring that they treat their workforces responsibly as orders are completed...

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