The following is an unofficial translation of the message sent by Pr U Htin Kyaw on the occasion of Workers’ Day which falls on 1st May.
On this auspicious occasion of the International Workers’ Day, on which the entire workers’ throughout the world are honoured, I wish all the workers in the country health and happiness.
History has witnessed 20-hour working hour per day in 18th century, and dissatisfied with the situation workers’ at that time launched the 8-hour day movement in 1886 in Chicago, the United States of America. As a result, the standard working hour for workers has been set for eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. To honour the efforts of the workers, the International Workers Day has been marked yearly since then for over 120 years.
For Myanmar workers’ also, May Day is the meaningful and an auspicious occasion as this May Day marks the one-month anniversary of the new government elected by the people.
On such an auspicious occasion, the new government pledges to realise the political objective inspired by the people for long. Moreover, the government, hand in hand with the workforce, will strive for ensuring national development through the cooperation among the government, the employees and the employers based on social justice.
Currently, laws are being promulgated to create peaceful working environment with good relations among the tripartite force of the government, the employees and the employers; to enable workers to enjoy the legal rights; to enjoy worksite safety and build a safety culture to mitigate the workplace injuries; to create job opportunities at home and abroad; to introduce safe labour migration; to conduct on-job training to be able to strengthen competitiveness among workers; to implement social welfare plan which will provide social protection and healthcare to workers with social welfare insurance; and to settle labour dispute through the tripartite system based on free and fair manners. Moreover, obsolete laws are revoked and repealed or amended.
In accord with the Labour Organization Law enacted in 2011, associations were formed independently and the country saw 1917 labour organisations at the basic level, 105 in township level, 14 in region and state level, seven labour federations and one labour confederation. So also were formed the employee organization and thus there emerged 28 employee organizations in the basic level, one township level employee organization and one federation.
It is safe to say that emerging numerous labour organisations legally; holding tripartite meetings among employer, employee and government to set minimum wage; expanding the knowledge of workers; ensuring good relations between employee and employer by making negotiations through the representatives of labour organizations and the employee in labour dispute; and enabling workers to participate in the tripartite meetings regarding workers’ rights of the government, the employee and the employer are the benefits of forming such organizations.
In cooperation with the International Labour Organisation, the registered labour organizations in states and regions have been lectured on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right of Organize Convention 87 of ILO and 162 times of meetings and discussions in that regard could be made since July 2012.
As the elimination of forced labour is important for creating appropriate job opportunities, ward or village tract administrative law was amended in conformity with Forced Labour Convention 29 of ILO. A work plan is laid down and implemented together with the ILO to eliminate forced labour.
Myanmar is now practicing the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention -182 and with the cooperation of ILO, Myanmar Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour is being launched.
As a member of ASEAN, Myanmar is actively taking part in the programmes implemented across the ASEAN region together with fellow member countries. As the ASEAN Community was established on 31 December 2015, workers will be able to migrate from one country to another in ASEAN region freely. At such a time, our workforce will have to compete with others in the region and there is an urgent need of skilled labours in various fields. To meet this end, the State has promulgated job and skill development law. At the same time, joining hands with private entrepreneurs, vocational training schools were opened to produce skilled labours.
Job policies and migrant workers policies were laid down for overseas workers enabling them to enjoy the rights of the host countries, to get appropriate jobs, to promote skills and to create job opportunities at home and abroad. The Complaints Mechanism Centres were opened in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon to fulfill the needs of Myanmar workers at home and abroad the centres are handling the workers’ affairs round the clock. In addition, to provide the information for migrant workers, Migrant Resources Centres (MRC) have been opened in 11 cities including Yangon and Mandalay. If a loophole is found in implementing such plans, remedied measures will be taken as soon as possible.
I would like to urge all the workers to abide by the prescribed laws to fully enjoy the rights, to learn the laws and share them to fellow workers to be able to produce full workforce, and to cooperate each other.
On this occasion of the International Workers’ Day, I, hereby, pledge that the new government will stick to the policies of emerging a constitution which will lead to national reconciliation, internal peace and democratic federal union and raising the social standard of the entire people. Again I pledge that the government will put all its energies into the tasks of ensuring social protection and safety of the entire people including workers.
I wish all the workers peace of mind while striving with their physical and spiritual prowess for national development.