Myanmar: Non-unionists disallowed to bring dispute before arbitration councils; must go to civil courts instead

Author: Zaw Zaw Htwe, Myanmar Times, Published on: 26 January 2019

"Myanmar labour laws leave workers with raw deal in disputes", 22 January 2019 

...[T]he Ministry of Labour Immigration and Population prohibited arbitration councils from settling disputes involving workers who are not members of a union. Such cases should be considered individual disputes and transferred to civil courts instead, the ministry said.
...unions with members involved in labour disputes must first be issued with an official certificate, Form 7....

Consequently...some employers are intentionally firing labour union leaders who are still waiting to receive Form 7....

...U Ye Naing Win, a former central arbitration council member..."Now workers are being asked to go to civil court if compensation disputes are not settled. In reality, it is next to impossible for many workers to attend the court hearings," he said.

...Another barrier for workers is costly lawyers' fees. ...As a result, many do not attend court hearings at all or end up filing lawsuits themselves that are either incorrect or incomplete.

In any case, township labour departments and mediation panels are notoriously weak in handling disputes, activists and union leaders said.

...[T]he Myanmar hluttaw is discussing the possibility of updating dispute categories under the labour law to give stakeholders more room to seek legal recourse in labour disputes.

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