Labourers in Burma fight for a fair minimum wage

Since Thein Sein’s reformist government took power two years ago, labourers across Burma have been striking for better pay.

According to a report published last June by Thura Swiss, the minimum wage for day labourers was set at 500 kyat (US$0.60) per day.

But following several strikes by garment factory workers last year, the minimum salary was temporarily increased to 56,000 kyat (US$65) per month and Burma’s parliament approved the 2013-minimum wage bill, which will pave the way for a basic salary rate for workers.

Labourers from the Hi-Mo High Art Wig Factory in Rangoon went on strike for four days demanding an increase in their salary that would cover basic living costs and healthcare.

“The workers are demanding an official basic salary of US$80 ” said Thein Myat Chal, secretary of the HI-Mo High Art Wig Factory’s Labour Union.

“Perhaps it could be not more than US$60 when the government compromise with employers.”

In March 2012, the minimum wage for civil servants was increased by 20,000kyat (US$23) per month.

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