Police refute blame in Swepyithar garment strike scuffle

Police refute blame in Swepyithar garment strike scuffle

Rangoon police have denied that they initiated a violent confrontation between their officers and striking workers that took place on 20 February.

A press conference was held in reference to the events at the E-Land Myanmar Garment factory in Shwepyithar Industrial Zone-2, in which police and protestors were injured in a scuffle during an attempted dispersal of a rally camp. Several were reportedly hurt on both sides.

Striking workers said the injuries were caused when police tried to forcibly remove dozens of workers who were blocking access to the factory.

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At the press conference, police Lt-Col Myit Htwe insisted that police did not start the confrontation, but were obeying a court order to detain protest leaders, as per a complaint from factory owners.

Striking workers from the E-land Myanmar Garment, Ford Glory Garment, Costec International, and Han Jen Textile and Garment factories have been holding industrial action for the past two weeks, demanding pay increases from basic salaries of 30,000 kyat (US$30) per month to 60,000 kyat a month. They are also calling for: casual daily workers to get the same labour rights as permanent workers; an increase in salary for workers once they complete one year on the job; and the participation of labour unions in the drawing up of industrial regulations.

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