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9 Jun 2021

Rob Jones, ISA

Myanmar: Fears of economic collapse as job losses increase, labour activist Daw Myo Aye probably detained in inhumane conditions

'Lessons from the Struggle as It Enters New Phase', 30 May 2021

... Despite the overwhelming superiority of weaponry in the hands of the military, the heroic Myanmar masses are continuing to resist the takeover...
Farmers in the Kanbalu township are protesting in the fields... Villagers in Sagaing region are holding a sit-down strike... The economy has been wrecked by the military takeover. For some years it had been growing, in part because multinationals began using the country as a cheaper labour source than China. Now the World Bank predicts a collapse by 10% of GDP in 2021, while a group of private economists warn the drop could even be twice as bad... Numbers employed in the garment sector were over 700,000 a year ago and are now about half of that... The banking system has been more or less paralysed... As many workers have not been able to receive their pay for April, there has been a flow of workers back to rural areas where they can at least live with relatives... It is also estimated that 3–400,000 jobs have been lost in the construction sector. The United Nations Development Programme predicts that due to the impact of Covid and the military takeover, nearly half of Myanmar’s population will be living in poverty by 2022... many worker and trade union activists ... have been arrested or are under threat... the leader of the ‘Solidarity of Trade Unions in Myanmar’ Daw Myo Aye ... is reportedly being held in the notorious Insein prison, known as Myanmar’s “darkest hell-hole” for its inhumane conditions. As she suffers from a serious kidney condition there are real concerns for her health...

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