Garment factory workers claim abuse of labour rights

Mar 19, 2009 (DVB), Underage workers at a garment factory in Rangoon's New Dagon township have complained of labour rights abuses by their employers after being forced to work unpaid overtime.

Four female workers, all under the age of 18, recently quit their jobs at the Hercules factory, which is owned by a South-Korean businessman.

They allege that the factory's management were treating workers unfairly by demanding overtime with no extra pay and no health and medical care provided.

"They also demanded us to produce 30 garments each within 40 minutes," said one of the girls, aged 16. "We were cursed so badly when we failed."

She said about 700 workers in the factory were paid a minimum wage of 20,000 kyat ($US20) per month.

"They often called for overtime work with no extra pay, and they never paid our salary on time," said the girl.

"We have debts and when we don't get paid on time we get in trouble with our loan sharks."

She said only workers who were favoured by factory managers were allowed to talk to government officials who inspected the factory regularly.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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