Raising the Bottom: A report on the garment industry in Myanmar
Author: Progressive Voice, Published on: 2 December 2016
The garment industry in Myanmar, while still small compared to major producers such as China and Bangladesh, is growing exponentially, as more and more buyers source from the over 350 factories in its industrial zones. Yet despite an increase in jobs, labor standards remain low. This report, ‘Raising the Bottom,’ ﬁnds that Myanmar has a long way to go for this industry to be sustainable as factory workers, the majority of whom are women, bear the brunt of an extremely competitive global market in which labor standards remain below internationally recognized human rights and labor standards.
Based on 199 interviews with garment factory workers, 87% of whom were women, as well as key stakeholders in the industry, from the private sector to trade unions, the research presented in ‘Raising the Bottom’ ﬁnds that labor rights in Myanmar are not adequately protected through national legislation. Furthermore, structural pressures as a result of Myanmar’s integration into global markets will create negative impacts. This necessitates an evaluation of how Myanmar’s broader economic development will beneﬁt those without adequate protection.
The main research ﬁndings of this report relate to four diﬀerent aspects of life for workers in the garment industry – working hours, working conditions, the impact of the minimum wage, and trade unions and labor dispute settlements.