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New labour law goes into effect in Burma

(Mizzima) – The new Labour Organization Law has been approved by President Thein Sein, according to a Xinhua news agency article on Saturday.

ilo-logoApproved last year by Parliament, the law protects employees' rights, allows the formation labour associations and establishes procedures for holding a workers’ strike.

The Labour Organization Law was enacted in accordance with the provisions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and its recommendations, the article said quoting domestic sources.

Meanwhile, Burma and the ILO agreed in January this year on extending a supplementary memorandum of understanding for one more year on the eradication of forced labor. The ILO is engaged in an extensive educational project involving Burmese government officials and workers on the international standards of labour law and workers’ rights.

The extension of the understanding signified the government's commitment to the prohibition of forced labor and guarantee of the rights of citizens, officials said.

Existing laws prohibit the use of forced labor in Burma, but there are still regular reports of the use of forced labour by the military and by local government officials. The ILO provides a complaint mechanism, facilitated by the ILO liaison officer in Rangoon.
Demonstrating workers at the Tai Yi foot ware factory in an industrial zone near Rangoon. Their strike was settled in a township arbitration court early this month. The strikers said they plan to organize a workers' union. Photo: Mizzima
According to the supplementary understanding, Burmese citizens can seek redress by filing a complaint with the ILO, a system that first went into effect in February 2007.

Earlier, Mizzima reported that the Federation of Trade Unions-Burma (FTUB) has welcomed the new Labour Organization Law. FTUB Joint Secretary Dr. Zaw Win Aung said under the law if workers want to go on strike, they must inform relevant authorities two weeks in advance.
“We welcome enactment of the law. Allowing a workers’ union will make the country improve,” Dr. Zaw Win Aung, who lives in New Delhi, told Mizzima.
Zaw Win Aung said that if workers can form unions, the country would develop faster while giving workers the benefits of international labour standards.
Last Updated ( Monday, 12 March 2012 20:03 )  
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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