Around 100 workers of the Lawun Htet Tha garment factory in Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone have gone on strike in protest against late salary payments.
Phyu Phyu Htwe, a worker at the South Korean-owned factory, said on Monday that their employer failed to pay their monthly wages on the last pay day, 5 June, prompting the workers to strike.
“Our pay day is the fifth of each month, which was Sunday, so ideally we should have been paid the day before,” she said. “But the company hasn’t yet paid to us as of Monday, 6 June, and apparently they have no plan to pay.”
She said representatives of the firm told employees that plans are underway to close the factory, and that some of the workforce will be reassigned to two other factories under the same operator. She said the factory chiefs indicated that those workers who do not accept the terms of the reassignment will not be paid.
The Korean garment manufacturers also operate the Sulet Htet Tha and Myanmar Tai Yi factories, also in the sprawling Hlaing Tharyar industrial estate in the western suburbs of the former Burmese capital.
“The Korean operators told us that the workforce from our factory will be redistributed to the two other plants, but we refused,” said Phyu Phyu Htwe. “We said we would rather remain here; otherwise they should offer us severance pay.
“However the company said they won’t pay us unless we transfer to the other factories. Now we don’t want to continue working for these employers — they are very cunning.”
Labour activist Wai Linn said he and fellow activists are assisting the Lawun Htet Tha workers in their fight to get paid.
“We will be working with the workers of the Lawun Htet Tha factory to get their wages as soon as possible,” he said. “We will also seek legal action against any employer who violates the labour laws.”
Representatives of the factory were unavailable for comment.