Some factory owners are considering mass redundancies after the minimum wage in Burma was increased to 3, 600 kyat (US$3) per day, reports say.
Myo Aung, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, said that officials are in talks with the factory bosses to discuss the reasons behind the possible redundancies.
“We’re trying to know what makes the factory owners consider this [the redundancies] – whether they really find difficulty with the new minimum wage,” said Myo Aung.
The committee from the labour ministry set the minimum wage on 29 June. Korean and Chinese business owners have refused to pay 3,600 kyat a day, and threatened to shut down their factories in protest.
Some local factory owners from the garment and commodity sectors also gave the thumbs-down to the new salary rate.
Aung Lin, chairperson of the Myanmar Trade Unions Federation, said that compensation should be given to fired workers if there are any lay-offs, and that they have demanded legal talks with any factories considering redundancies.
“It becomes harder each day for labourers to cope with the rising living expenses. The factory owners stated in the proposal letters that they would give salaries equivalent to $100 but did not keep their word. There is no one to check the factory owners,” said Aung Lin.
He added that practical methods are needed to help improve the lives of manual workers.
The minimum wage came into effect 1 September , and business owners who do not comply with the increase will be prosecuted.
Read more about the minimum wage increase here.