5000 textile workers laid off in Hlaingtharyar

Dec 29, 2008 (DVB), More than 5000 workers lost their jobs when clothing factories in Hlaingtharyar industrial zone in Rangoon closed down recently, while others are facing salary cuts.

The closures come not long after the Burmese regime said the world economic crisis would not affect Burma.

The factories which are still operating have reduced their workers' lunch break from 45 to 30 minutes, and are only paying 100 kyat for overtime, a worker in a Korean clothing factory told DVB.

"They are also reducing our wages by 3000 kyat a month. We get only 30,000-40,000 kyat a month," she said.

The worker said there had also been increasing incidents of physical assaults against staff.

Workers are unable to report the abuses for fear of losing their jobs.

In the past, workers who demanded their rights have been detained and intimidated by local authorities, one employee said.

"[The authorities] said, 'Don’t demonstrate again or you will be arrested'," the employee said.

"People are living in fear – what they want to say never comes out."

Reporting by Arnt Phone Myat

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