Dry zone residents cry job discrimination in Yangon industrial zone

Dry zone residents cry job discrimination in Yangon industrial zone

Workers from Sagaing and Magway regions have been denied jobs and are facing layoffs from some factories in Yangon Industrial Zone, according to sources from the labor community. 

A worker from Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone told DVB that some people holding IDs with 5 and 8 registration numbers, the numbers corresponding with Sagaing and Magway regions, are being denied work at factories. 

“I asked my younger sister to apply at the factory, but she did not get an offer as the factory claimed they did not need workers despite a vacancy posting in front of the factory. Someone said it is because she holds an ID from Yesagyo (Magway), I could not question it as I was afraid of losing my job as well,” the source said. 

Restrictions for Magway ID holders have only been imposed for certain townships in the region, but have been imposed for all Sagaing ID holders, a worker in Shwe Pauk Kan Industrial Zone told DVB. 

“For example, Pakokku, Pauk, Yesagyo, Htilin and Gangaw townships in Magway face restrictions, but if you are from Sagaing, they will say no just by looking at your number 5 ID card. No jobs are given to Sagaing natives at some factories. They pretend to do interviews but I am certain you won’t get the job once they say they will give you another call,” a source that works at Shwe Pauk Kan said. 

Not only are 5 and 8 ID card holders purportedly facing denials of job opportunities at factories, but employees at some factories are facing layoffs, according to a worker from Mingaladon Industrial Zone. 

“There was an issue at Ti and EMC factories when they laid off workers holding 5 and 8 IDs. They were working at the factories and it made a commotion. I don’t know how it ended,” a source said.

However, a businessman told DVB that authorities have not issued restrictions on jobs for Sagaing and Magway ID holders.

“It happens sometimes when employees are laid off. When the factory cuts jobs, it could be employees from Bago, Yangon, Rakhine, Magway or Sagaing. The targeting of specific employees is not happening,” he said. 

Ye Naing Win, the general secretary from the Cooperation Committee of Trade Unions (CCTU), told DVB that issues arose when EMC factory in Mingaladon Industrial Zone – which had around 5,000 workers – initially dismissed 131 workers as a first step to reduce its workforce by 2,000 in the past few days. 

“They planned on dismissing 2,000 workers, but they first laid off 131 people. They dismissed workers who had under six months of experience, only been working a short period, and were not good at their jobs. There were six men and the rest were women, but most of them were from Rakhine State, as well as 8 and 5 ID holders. The workers attending our training are also holding 8 and 5 IDs– but they are currently working,” he told DVB. 

The news about the issues facing Sagaing and Magway ID holders has circulated on social media and a trade union has not received any complaints from Sagaing and Magway workers so far, so it is difficult to identify whether it is a real issue said Khin Myo Myo Aye, director of Solidarity Trade Union of Myanmar (STUM).

“This is an issue that is really happening. Illegal dismissals are happening regularly and have occurred when owners wanted to reduce employees at their factories. The employers claim they fired 8 and 5 ID holders for security reasons as the official explanation to the government, and later I assumed they did whatever they wanted,” she said. 

However, she said that the decisions do not come from owners but possibly from managers, HR, and supervisors who use it as an excuse to get rid of employees that are difficult to work with.

There are 29 industrial zones In Yangon, and 291 private factories closed after the coup, forcing over 100,000 workers to lose their jobs, according to data. 

Nearly 100 factories have shut down since the coup and 114 new factories have opened, according to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.