Monday, 09 December 2019

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Double wages for workers on duty during Thingyan

New Delhi (Mizzima) –  In a decision, which favours the working class, a rarity in Burma, the Labour Ministry has ordered factory managements and business houses this week to pay workers double the wages if they open their establishment during the four-day long Thingyan (water festival).

The ministry has ordered the management to let workers enjoy the Thingyan festival from April 13 to 16. Should they wish to keep their establishments open on these days, they must inform the ministry.

“All factories and businesses are ordered to close during Thingyan festival. If the factories have to be run on these days, they must inform the labour office in advance and pay wrokers double wages,” an official from North Dagon Township Labour Office told Mizzima.

“We have been ordered to take action against those who do not inform us in advance but we don’t know yet what action to take,” he said.

The Factories and Labour Law Inspection Department under the Labour Ministry issued the order this year under the 1951 Leave and Holiday Act. The order will cover all factories, establishments, companies, stores, and restaurants.

Some factory managements in Hlaing Tharyar, South Dagon, North Dagon and Shwe Pyitha industrial zones, said that it was announced that the holidays will be the same as government holidays and the workers will be paid in full during the holidays.

“Our factory will close in keeping with government holidays and there will be no wage cut. We are happy to get fully paid holidays,” a woman worker in a textile factory in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone 2 said.

Government holidays in this year’s Thingyan festival are from April 10 to 21.

“We have never before heard of such an order for paying double wages for holidays. It will be the first time ever,” a reporter in a Rangoon based weekly journal said.

The order might have been issued because of a series of labour strikes in Rangoon industrial zones early this year, he added.

Despite the order issued in Rangoon by the ministry, some businessmen in Mandalay said that they had not yet received such a directive.

“Our factory has not yet received any directive. We will not close in keeping with government holidays but we will close for four days during the Thingyan festival,” a bean crushing factory owner in Pyi Gyi Tagon Township said.

Thousands of workers from Shwe Pyi Thar, Insein, Hlaing Tharyar, South Dagon industrial zones in Rangoon Division staged at least 10 labour strikes in February and March this year demanding increased wages and reduced working hours.

The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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