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Fear of strikes leads to factories declaring holiday

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Fear of strikes by workers spreading has forced some factory managements in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone to declare a holiday, an industrial zone official said.

"The factory was closed for the Union Day holiday. This was not a holiday in earlier years for workers though it is an official holiday in Burma. But workers used to get overtime. We gave the Union Day holiday or else the strike will spread to all factories here," he added.

About 1,400 workers went on strike at the Korean citizen owned Opal 2 and Mya Fashion factories on 8 February demanding a wage hike. The strike spread to Tai Yee and Kyarlay factories yesterday.demonstration-hlaing9s

The military regime has ordered authorities in Rangoon Division, Township Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), Fire Brigade, the police and Labour Ministry officials to be on standby in the industrial zone.

There are over 1,700 workers in Tai Yee Footwear factory owned by Sein Oo a.k.a. Laurein Trip (55). These workers staged a sit-in strike yesterday on U Shwe Oh Road, outside the factory, demanding an off on government holidays, increase in daily wage and overtime and other rights related to wages.

After the No. 3 Military Region Commander Col. Tint San and Rangoon northern district police chief Lt. Col. Ko Ko Aung put pressure on striking workers to disperse, some  of them entered the factory and some went home.

Soon after the factory management threatened the workers that they would be fired if they are absent for three consecutive days.

Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone is the biggest in Burma and about 50,000 to 70,000 workers are employed in many manufacturing industries like cold storages, garment factories, foodstuffs, value-added timber works, chemical industries and household appliances accounting for over 800 factories. But according to the management committee of the industrial zone, just over 400 have been able to operate their business since 2007.

Last month too, there were three labour strikes demanding better wages and labour rights in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone.

About 100 workers staged a strike at the Sonny footwear factory in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone No. 3 in early December 2009. Another labour strike took place in Weng Hong Hung garment factory in on 14 December in the same zone and about 100 workers demonstrated  at  the prawn cold storage factory in Zone No. 2 on 7 January.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 February 2010 16:40 )  

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