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Myanmar manufacturers take a stand against potential wage hike

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2020-01-22 09:44:14 – Myanmar

Garment manufacturers will conduct surveys of their own to determine whether workers are justified in calling for a substantial raise to the national living wage, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association.

Two weeks ago it was announced that the country’s government would conduct research across major cities on the cost of labour in the garment, food and commodity sectors as it looks to establish a new minimum wage, as is customary every two years.

In light of this, Myanmar’s National Minimum Wage Committee said it would call for what bosses now describe a “steep increase” to hourly wages, from 4800 Myanmar Kyat (US$3.30) to 7200 Kyat (US$5).

On Saturday, Myanmar’s government began collating data from across six areas: Hlaing Tharyar, Shwe Pyi Thar, Mingaladon, Dagon Myothit Seikkan, Dagon Myothit and the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, as it looks to identify a new adequate minimum wage in the country.

This research prioritises the garment, food and commodity sectors – key drivers for the country’s economy – and will be conducted over the next few weeks as it looks to comprehensively cover the cost of labour as not to cripple a workforce which is already amongst the poorest in the world.

Bosses are seemingly opposed to the idea, stating that such research on labour costs has not been undertaken before and that it lays the foundations for workers to demand more.

Daw Khine Khine Nwe, general secretary of the Garment Manufacturers Association, says the survey will determine if there is a need to raise the basic wage from the current K4800, as proposed by workers’ groups.

U Myint Soe, chair of the association, said the survey will be conducted in February and submitted to the National Minimum Wage Committee at its next meeting.

“The survey will gather general information about the factories and businesses, their expenses, labour force, export market, employee salaries and benefits,” notes local news outlet the Myanmar Times.

Courtesy: Eco Textile News

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