Friday, 13 December 2019

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Tai Yi strike to go to arbitration court

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Tai Yi footwear factory strikers in a Rangoon industrial zone will take their case to the government Trade Dispute Committee arbitration court on Wednesday, Mizzima has learned.

Workers at the Tai Yai factory in Rangoon have been on strike for 14 days. Photo: MizzimaThe 1,845 workers, now in the 14th day of the strike, agreed to file a suit with the Mayangon Township trade dispute committee, said their lawyer, Pho Phyu.

The workers, mostly women from rural areas, are asking for 150 kyat (19 cents) per hour. The factory owner offered 100 kyat (13 cents) per hour, which the workers rejected. The working hours at the factory are from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Workers are also asking for an 8,000-kyat bonus for those who have no absences for one month and better working conditions.

Pho Phyu said that so far the company’s management and the authorities have not harassed or threatened the workers.

“The number of police in the area isn’t much,” he said. “They have 14 military personnel with 14 motorcycles, seven motorcycles on each end of the road. They didn’t bring truncheons with them on previous days, but they brought riot gear on Monday,” he said.

He said that if the workers take the case to arbitration, they would not have the right to continue their strike. Most workers did not want to continue the strike until security forces broke it up, so arbitration was the best course at this point, he said.

“The court will hear our complaint and see our written statements. Both parties can say what they want to argue and defend in the court. Some of these trade disputes can be resolved between employers and employees. But some of these cases are appealed to a higher court if one party can not accept the verdict,” Pho Phyu said. Pho Phyu, attorney Duwa Khun Mar Mai and other colleagues are providing legal aid in the case.

The Tai Yi footwear factory is a Chinese-owned company that has faced similar labour strikes for the past three years in row.

Officials with the Labour Department and officials from region and township-level labour departments met with the factory owner and a workers’ committee to try to resolve the dispute on February 13, but they could not agree on the amount of increase in hourly wages.
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