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Workers sacked after speaking to foreign media

Apr 27, 2009 (DVB), Ten garment factory workers in Bago division were sacked last week without reason after speaking to foreign media about mistreatment in the workplace.

The workers at Pho Shwe La garment factory in Bago's Maha Myaing ward said they were informed by the factory's manager last Friday that they had been made redundant.

No reason was given, but they claim the factory's manager, Nweni Oak, was reacting to an interview with the BBC's Burmese service the previous week about salary cuts of 20 per cent.

"On Friday, they paid us our month's salary and told us we were being made redundant," said one of the factory workers.

"They said they will pay us our compensation on 5 May."

She said she would be satisfied if the compensation is paid, although another worker said that compensation would not suffice given her commitment to the work.

"I did my best at work without complaining about extra tasks they asked me to do and now they are sacking me for getting involved in the news," she said.

"I think this is too personal."

The group had asked for assistance from Bago-based Guiding Star legal advocacy group which is well known for providing help for farmers and workers regarding rights abuses.

Aye Myint, head of Guiding Star, said this was another incident that highlighted the lack of rights for manual workers in Burma.

"There are not many groups to help them when they are mistreated and abused by their managers," he said.

"The government's labour office is only a dummy to pretend that they are actually doing something to help.

"The lives of farmers and worker in Burma are going downhill," he added.

Reporting by Aye Nai


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