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Myanmar: Report finds that garment industry initiatives have not delivered needed positive impact on labour; highlights abuses such as low wages, unpaid overtime, child labour


This report by SOMO, Action Labor Rights, and Labor Rights Defenders & Promoters asks whether, and how, western garment brands can operate fairly in the fledgling democracy of Myanmar. The report analyses Myanmar's economic and trade policies, international labour standards, and local labour laws. It highlights labour issues such as low wages and child labour based on interviews with over 400 workers. It also features responses from some brands, and recommendations on constructive ways forward.

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14 February 2017

The Myanmar Dilemma: Can the garment industry deliver decent jobs for workers in Myanmar?

Author: Action Labor Rights, Labor Rights Defenders & Promoters, SOMO

5 Feb 2017

Author: SOMO & Action Labor Rights & Labour Rights Defenders & Promoters, Published on: 5 February 2017

...The garment industry is one of the most labour-intensive manufacturing industries in the world. Clothing companies are constantly on the look-out for production locations that can make clothes more quickly and at lower costs. Over the past few years, Myanmar has rapidly become a popular sourcing destination for the garment industry – due to a huge pool of cheap labour and favourable trading conditions. However, conditions for workers in this industry are far from acceptable.

Labour rights abuses are rife. Land rights have been violated in the development of industrial zones. Workers who are brave enough sometimes file complaints or resort to open protests, news of which occasionally finds its way into the international media. More often, however, workers toil on in silence. This report describes the most pressing problems facing garment workers in Myanmar.

The authors – SOMO, ALR and LRDP – also offer suggestions for constructive ways forward to head off a crisis before it escalates. They highlight the importance of strict country-specific diligence procedures, including carrying out thorough risk assessments before operations are launched and orders are placed.

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5 February 2017

How high street clothes were made by children in Myanmar for 13p an hour

Author: Gethin Chamberlain, Guardian (UK)

Children as young as 14 have been employed to make clothes for some of the most popular names on the UK high street, according to a new report…

Labour rights campaigners say that the use of children in factories supplying household names is the result of a “race to the bottom”, as brands chase ever lower labour costs

Brands have had some success eliminating child labour from their main supplier factories in recent years, but as wages have risen in countries such as China, companies are increasingly moving production to cheaper markets, including Myanmar, where children can legally be employed for up to four hours a day from the age of 14…

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