August 18, 2016

Garment industry bosses urged to adopt proposed minimum wage on trial basis

Workers at a  production line of a garment factory in Hlinethaya  Industrial Zone.—Photo: Aye Min Soe
Workers at a production line of a garment factory in Hlinethaya Industrial Zone.—Photo: Aye Min Soe

Yangon, 12 July — The government has suggested that both employers and employees agree to the adoption of a proposed minimum wage on a trial basis in an attempt to break the deadlock between both sides over the issue.
Union Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security U Aye Myint told reporters on Sunday that the proposed minimum wage of K 3,600 per day set by a national-level body is a suitable rate given the current situation of the country, saying the law allows both sides to amend the wage in the future if it does not work well. Myanmar garment factory owners on 2 July unanimously voted against the minimum wage of K3,600 for an eight-hour day and pledged to send their objections to the National Minimum Wage Committee  within two weeks.
The vote was participated in by more than 200 businessmen from 145 garment factories attending a meeting at the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, at which they discussed the challenges they face in meeting the proposed minimum wage, which was announced by the government on 29 June.
About 30 factories with foreign investment even expressed their intent to shut down in September if the proposed minimum wage takes effect on 1 September.
Garment industry bosses had offered a wage of K2,500 during the 22-23 June negotiation between the employers and employees, but the two sides could not reach an agreement during the talks sponsored by the government.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar representing the garment workers has urged employers to take economic opportunities over the next two to three years into account in determining the wage.
The government’s minimum wage body issued a notification on the minimum wage proposal on 29 June and has invited objections and suggestions from organizations and individuals with respect to the proposed minimum wage within two weeks.
The committee has so far received objections from 162 factory owners and 11 workers in Yangon and from three factory owners and three workers in Mandalay, an official of the committee told reporters on Sunday.—GNLM


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