Friday, 13 December 2019

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Application for trade union rejected

New Delhi (Mizzima) – An application to form a trade union in a Bago textile, garment and leather factory has been rejected by Burmese authorities.

Labour Minister Aung Kyi. Photo: MizzimaThe Ministry of Labour said the application was unacceptable noting that President Thein Sein had not yet signed a notification that is required to put the new law into force and a chief registrar had not yet been appointed.

“They (authorities) just said they could not accept (the application),” trade union spokesman San Maung told Mizzima. “According to the law, it should not be like that. In other laws, the laws came into force as soon as the president gave his assent by signing the law, but this law is different. According to the Constitution, the law must come into force as soon as the president signed it.”

An application for establishing a trade union was sent to Labour Minister Aung Kyi, but it was rejected on December 2.

The Trade Union Law was passed by Parliament and signed by President Thein Sein on October 11.

There are 30 workers in the trade union, which was established for coordination and arbitration among employers, employees and the government.

Section 1(b) of the law stipulates “this law shall come into force on the date set and announced by the president by signing a notification.”

Article 107 of the Constitution also stipulates that laws signed by the president or the law deemed to have been signed by the president should be promulgated by being publishing in the official gazette. It also stipulates in the same article that the law shall come into force on the day of such promulgation unless a contrary intention is expressed.

The exile-based Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) said that it was questionable why such notification by the president has not been made despite having been passed by Parliament and signed by him.

“The president is responsible for giving his assent and signing the notification to put the law in force as soon as possible. And then he must fulfill all required points as stipulated in the law. Not only appointing a chief registrar for this purpose, he must also appoint all subordinate registrars up to the township level. The government is responsible for all the delay in this regard,” FTUB joint secretary Dr. Zaw Win Aung told Mizzima.

Labour organization observers have said the new trade union law had many weak points and loopholes that must be corrected and amended to meet the standards and requirements set by the International Labour Organization.

Under the new law, workers must inform the authorities 14 days in advance to hold a demonstration and provide details on the number of participants, the method of protest, and the time and location. The law restricts demonstrations that will affect public services such as water, electricity, fire brigades, health and communication.

“The law prohibits demonstrations at public services but there are no stipulations for these workers for their rights to demonstrate. The law does not say anything how they would get such rights. In ILO conventions, such rights are clearly mentioned, such as who would settle their issues and how these workers can get a remedy for the loss of their rights,” Dr. Zaw Win Aung said.

In a related incident, a group of MPs recently applied for a permit to demonstrate under the recently enacted and promulgated Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Demonstration Law, but Home Ministry rejected the application, saying the government had not yet issued the rules, regulations, by-laws, notifications, directives and procedures that apply to the law.
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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