The introduction of a national minimum wage on August 28 has resulted in hundreds of workers losing their jobs in the commercial capital of Yangon, claims the Federation of Trade Unions Myanmar (FTUM)
FTUM’s chairman U Aung Lin said that unemployment rates are unlikely to rise but called for sacked workers to be given redundancy payments, urging the Ministry of Labour to act as a go-between employers and workers.
With some 250,000 workers employed in Myanmar’s garments and textiles industry, the chairman acknowledged that: “Five-hundred redundancies will not have much of an effect on the entire workforce.”
Labour unions said that some factories have stopped providing free transport and overtime payments, which causes workers considerable inconvenience.
“Losing overtime pay really hurts our living standards,” said Ma Nway Oo Mon, who works at a garment factory in Hlaingthayar Township.
Garment factory owner U Aye Thoung said that employers may look to other ways to maintain profits and said that additional rules and regulations are needed to ensure that the purpose of the Minimum Wage Law is achieved.
The Myanmar National Minimum Wage Committee set a national minimum wage of K3,600 (US$2.80) for an eight-hour work a day on 28 August following a series of discussions and negotiations among the government, employers and workers.
The International Labour Organisation in Myanmar said that the introduction of a national minimum wage will help raise living standards among low-income workers and ensure fair competitions among their employers.
According to the ILO, Myanmar is the 90th country worldwide to set a national minimum wage.