Photo: ILO / M. Crozet
Photo: ILO / M. Crozet

Between labour and the law

Resurgence of labour activism in Myanmar

Recent months have seen an increase in organised labour strikes in Myanmar, several of which have been met with violence. On 15 October 2018, a group of workers on strike outside the Chinese-owned Fu Yuen Garment factory in Yangon's Dagon Seikkan township faced a violent attack.  While this particular dispute was resolved, following the intervention of the regional minister, trade union activity itself is a relatively recent development.

Trade unions were banned in Myanmar under the military junta, but have begun to organise since the restoration of democracy in 2011, demanding better pay and working conditions. However employers have so far been able to exploit legal loopholes to their advantage. Local law enforcement, too, has been accused of turning a blind eye to the violence directed at protesting workers.

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Himal Southasian