World / Asia-Pacific

Myanmar in bid to defuse strike tension

Updated: 2015-03-05 17:36

YANGON - Myanmar authorities have taken actions to disperse striking garment workers with Yangon's Shwepyitha Industrial Zone as negotiation with the workers made no progress on settling the labor dispute.

The workers from the foreign-owned E-Land Myanmar Garment Factory staging protest on their march to Yangon City Hall were dispersed at the area of Danyingon by the security force on Wednesday evening with about 15 protesters and two reporters including one foreigner being detained.

The two reporters were later released.

The legal action was taken amid warning of the authorities against break of law and instigation to disturb rule of law.

On Feb 20, the authorities had taken legal action against the month-long labor strike staged by 2,000 workers from three foreign- invested garment factories in Shwepyitha industrial zone in north of the city.

In the incident, strike leaders, along with 30 workers, were arrested.

The labor strike, which started from Jan 28 demanding for increased pay, developed into violent act of blocking the entrance of some foreign-invested factories in Shwepyitha and Hlaingtharya Industrial Zones in February, preventing both workers to return to work and employers and staff to go outside the factories and stopping the run of container vehicles.

The Yangon regional government had earlier warned of taking action against such violence.

The 2,000 workers from the three garment factories demanded more payment which meet ASEAN standard.

Foreign employers also demanded the government to provide protection of law to their factories to enable continuous running of their businesses at peace, complaining that the workers' act of blocking entrances of factories has reached above of the existing law.

Although the majority of the striking workers had reached agreement with their employers during the last negotiation and have returned to work, some of them are still conducting sit-in protest outside one of the garment factories in Shwepyitha industrial zone.

The series of workers' issues have impacted on foreign investment potential in the country, Yangon regional government said, adding that it can cause loss to both the workers and the employers.

The two industrial zones with workers on strike are the biggest ones in Yangon.

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