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5 Apr 2023


Myanmar: Workers at Jiangsu Soho garment factory reported mandatory overtime and intimidation

See all tags Allegations

"Rise in unlicenced garment factories fuels labour exploitation in post-coup Myanmar"

... Badly paid and exhausted after not a single day off in a month, Ma Theint Theint Win* would love nothing more than to quit her garment factory job.

“If I could, I wouldn’t set foot in this factory again,” said the 27-year-old Yangon resident, whose dream is to study Japanese and leave Myanmar. At the very least, she would like to be able to spend Sundays with family and friends.

But her bosses at the Jiangsu Soho garment factory in Shwepyithar Township refuse any time off for workers until they meet company targets.

“If I refuse to work Sundays, the supervisors will abuse me,” she said, explaining that meeting targets brings a small bonus. Missing targets, however, means salaries are cut, including those of the supervisors, who then take their rage out on the workers, often by verbally abusing them.

“The wages just aren’t worth all our efforts. I want to go and work in Japan. I want to learn their language. I’m looking for another factory job here so I can rest on Sunday, but it’s not easy to find these days,” she said.

Under Myanmar labour law, Sunday is a factory rest day and double wages must be paid for those working, but few regulations are being enforced under the military regime that seized power in February 2021.

Meanwhile, when holidays are observed, they are often mandatory and out of sync with the Myanmar festival calendar, and come with drastically reduced pay...