January 9, 2023
In December, Myanmar Labor News reported the violations of child labor and day laborers' rights. Although there is no accurate information on whether or not child labors are among the day laborers in some factories, it is witnessed that there is exploitation of child labor in some factories.
A total of 28 reviews, articles and analyses were reported in December including 24 factory news items that were harmful to workers. In those factory reports, 9 news items were reported about 8 factories that violated the rights of child laborers and day laborers. This number is a third of the total factory news.
The main violations against child labor and day laborers are wages exploitation. They are paid by daily wages but forced to work on par with permanent employees or day workers who got monthly salary.
Although day laborers and child labors have to work on par with permanent employees or day workers who got monthly salary, they not get overtime pay and not entitled to double wages of overtime pay specified in the Labor Law even though they had to work on weekends and public holidays.
Not paying overtime wages as stipulated by law is exploitation of labor, and the more the number of workers, the more benefits for employers and factory owners. Myanmar’s labor laws do not discriminate against any workers and stipule equal access to benefits. However, day laborers are not entitled to any type of leaves. They are also not entitled to social security benefits as they are not allowed to contribute to social security fees.
As the factory knows in advance every time the inspectors came as a complaint is filed for violations on the part of the factory, they fire the day laborers in advance. These workers suffered psychological and physical harm. In addition, as the factory officials taught the young child laborers at the factory to lie about their age, the inspectors could not take any action against the factory and makes them unable to meet the grievances of the child laborers. There are at least a hundred child laborers and day laborers in those factories, so it is clear that there are many victims.
The factories that reported in December for violations of day laborers and child labors are Toe Tet Garment Co.,Ltd from Shwe Pyi Thar Township, huangxi Myanmar from Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone (2), Yoyika Garment and Nisho (2) from Shwe Lin Ban Industrial Zone, Hone Kong Enterprise from Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone (1), Myanmar Bago Ntmode Garment Co., Ltd. from Bago, Sunrise Myanmar Fashion Garment from Thar Du Kan Industrial Zone and J-Land Myanmar from War Ta Yar Industrial Zone.
Hone Kong Enterprise is a food vermicelli factory, and the rest are garment factories. The workers said there are workers who lost some of their body parts due to occupational injuries in the food manufacturing factory, and those child workers were always forced to hide whenever inspection teams visited the factory.
Toe Tet Garment Co., Ltd., a factory of CHASECULT brand, hired the child labors for years, but do not pay the damages when the factory move, saying that they are under 18 years old.
The Shuangxi Myanmar Garment Factory is manufacturing the JAKO brand and employs more than 20 day laborers. The day laborers said that as they are not considered factory’s permanent employees, they are losing their leaves and social security benefits.
Yoyika Garment, which runs the Sinsay brand based in Poland, employs around 100 day laborers as helpers and pays only 3,600 kyats a day. In addition, the workers said that the day laborers were hired for just about a month and fired.
Bago-based Myanmar Bago Ntmode Garment Co., Ltd garment factory has around 100 day laborers, most of whom are child laborers. Among them, some child laborers have been working for around 3 years, but the factory has not recognized them as permanent workers. Although they have to work like other workers, they are not entitled to benefits.
They don’t get the professional fees, attendance and the subsidy directed by the ministry and the factory issue their salary only 5 days after the end of the month. The workers said that some of the child workers were fired by the factory after Myanmar Labour News reported the news about the child workers.
Sunrise Myanmar Fashion Garment is known for manufacturing GLOBAL WORK, WOLLYTEC, CINEMA CLUB, HARE, LEPSIL, URBAL FUNCTION, SINCE 1930, UNITED ATHLA, FINO-OUT, LOWRYS FARM၊, AIRTHERMAL, wmb, CLOSSHI Biz, HK WORKS LONDON and SOLOTEX brands. Day laborers in the workplace receive 4,800 kyats per day and overtime pay, they also get only 4,800 kyats on weekends and but not the 1,000 kyats subsidy instructed by the Ministry of Labor.
At HanGTen's flagship Nisho (2) factory, day laborers with 6 months to 1 year of services hired but are not designated as permanent workers, the workers said.
The J-Land Myanmar Garment Factory also made day laborers work beyond the statutory period, and although they received the fixed wages, they were not paid overtime, nor the subsidy announced by the Ministry, the workers said. In addition, the workers said that they do not receive financial benefits for off days and attendance bonus like permeant workers.
Factories that call excessive overtime
Tai Hong factory from War Ta Yar Industrial Zone which manufactures EVERLAST, DIEM and FB SISTER brands, Rong Da Garment and Shaungxi Myanmar factories which manufactures Logos Park, Beloved and Bekkin brands, K Seng factory which manufactures Beisie, Orsay and CLIQUE brands from Thar Du Kan Industrial Zone, Li Da Garment Co.,Ltd factory, Sunrise Myanmar Fashion Garment factory, Nisho (2) garment factory, Best Choice Garment Co,Ltd, Tianjin Fashion Milestone garment factory and Dong Sheng Xing Apparel factory are the factories that workers reported to Myanmar Labour News in December for calling excessive overtimes.
The factories that break the law and call for overtime are the factories mentioned above, including the Myanmar Bago Ntmode Garment Co., Ltd garment factory and the Hone Kong Enterprise vermicelli factory.
The workers from each factory said that the factories did not give a break although they ask for it as they were called excessive overtime, labeled their leaves as absent and not giving the rights which, they are entitled to, discriminated the workers who do not work overtime, intimidated their job stability and forced by pressuring.
Factories that fire workers
In December, the factory that tried to fire workers with more than ten years of experience without complying with the law was the Htun Myint Htun Co,Ltd factory, which produces dry noodles. Currently, it is in the process of resolving the matter, so we cannot reveal the details yet.
Officials of Myanmar Lucky Phoenix International Co., Ltd garment factory, which sews MLA UNIFORM brand, fired the workers who answer the truth to the labor officials that they did not get overtime wages, and had to settle the matter up to the arbitration panel. In this incident, what Myanmar Labor News noticed is how the factory knows the information of the workers who answer the truth.
Myanmar Bago Ntmode Garment Co., Ltd's child labor issue was published in Myanmar Labor News, and the factory fired the child workers. The factory had forced these child workers for many years and exploited the labor.
Slanders inside the workplace
Factories such as Toe Tet Garment Co.,Ltd, Shuangxi Myanmar၊ Nisho (2), Jiashihao(Myanmar), Sunrise (Myanmar) fashion Co.,Ltd and Tianjin Fashion Milestone have slanders in the workplace, said the workers.
Some research shows that swearing destroys workplace enjoyment and affects workers' psychological well-being, resulting in lower productivity. But officials in Myanmar garment factories do not control the slander of labor supervisors at all. Labor activists have said that these slanders have resulted in low labor stability in the workplace and the loss of skilled workers.
Union members are still discriminated against
Among the conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the right to form independent labor organizations is stipulated. However, the right to form labor unions in factories in Myanmar is currently difficult. Rather than forming new labor unions, former members are currently being oppressed.
Although a factory union is not formed, the supervisors of the Myanmar Guotai Huasheng Glory Fashion garment factory oppressed former union members.
"The workers who have been members of the union in the past are treated with malice by the supers without fault. They reported to the manager but there is no solution. They are just doing whatever they want to ," the workers said.
A trade union leader who went through the Covid-19 period said that the unions are the best mediators between workers and employers.
In December, there were nearly tens of factories that failed to provided enjoyable workplace. It is witnessed that the factory officials are violating some of the legal details about the workplace, as well as erasing the points of the EC contract.
Workers said about not having a clinic, nurse, transportation, drinking water, enough toilets, good ventilation, high temperature and fire hazard situations.
In December, it is noticeable of not seeing any news about the factories pressurizing the workers to work substitute days but there are factories that still cut the workers' wages.
Workers told Myanmar Labor News that the VHT factory, which based in Bagu Township and operates with around 1,000 workers, was closed for a period of time without paying around 400 workers on the grounds of a shortage of raw materials. In December, there were factories that were relocated and closed off, and most of the factories paid damages that were satisfied and accepted by the workers.
This is a summary of the reports on the violation of labor rights published in Myanmar Labour News in December 2023.