Labour activists jailed

Labour activists jailed

Two brothers will serve time in prison for orchestrating a labour strike in Rangoon’s Shwepyithar Township.

Thu Zaw Kyi Win and Naing Zaw Kyi Win were each sentenced to two years in prison by Yankin Township Court on Thursday. The two had been charged under article 505(b) of the Penal Code — which targets anyone who acts with the intent to cause public fear or alarm in the public, or induces another to commit and offence against the State.

Thu Zaw Kyi Win and Naing Zaw Kyi Win were arrested on 20 February for their part in a workers’ strike in Shwepyithar industrial zone. Trials continue for two other strike leaders, Myo Min Min and Naing Htay Lwin, who are also charged under article 505(b).

In February, workers from several factories, including Han Jen garment factory took to the streets to demand higher wages. The group also demanded the ability to negotiate with the Burma’s labour union on the establishment of a code of conduct in February 2016.

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Speaking to DVB after the verdict was handed down, Thu Zaw Kyi Win said: “Both of us were sentenced to two years each. We do not agree and have believed from the start that we were unjustly charged.

“We do not trust the court … until now the workers from Tai Yi and Hteik Tan factories are still demonstrating to get their wages. The government ignored them and through the court, they imprison the workers. This amounts to suppression of the workers,” he said.

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