Category: FGWM Solidarity

Side by side with FGWM in Myanmar (fundraising)

Goal: 15 000 EUR by August 31st 2023 to enable comrades of the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM) to continue their work!

Below you will find more details on the FGWM itself as well as a message from a garment factory worker.

fundraising page: website: solidarity shirts:
worker message (ဗမာ) background info what can I do?

Message from a garment factory worker organised with FGWM:

* အောက်ကမြန်မာပြည်မှာ *

Hello, Mingalarbar. I’m reaching out to seek assistance from fellow members of international unions. I work in the garment industry and hold a leadership role within the union. I’m a part of both the Federation of General Workers (FGWM) and a leading position in a garment factory’s union. These unions have been actively combating labor exploitation and advocating for workers’ rights through united efforts. The recent military coup has turned our workplaces into unbearable environments.
Under the leadership of FGWM, our trade unions initiated campaigns (inside factories) against the military dictatorship on February 5, 2021, immediately after the coup. On February 6, our union federation, FGWM became the pioneering group to voice opposition against the military rule in Yangon. Unfortunately, this led to their identification and subsequent capture by the military. Many workers have also become jobless as they fled their workplaces to escape danger. Some have been imprisoned due to the military’s arrests.
At present, amidst extreme challenges and the oppressive actions of employers within the workplace, we are seeking aid for fellow workers. These individuals include those spearheading the movement for labor rights and federal democracy, as well as those imprisoned for advocating human and women’s rights in the workplace. We earnestly request support from our international unions and comrades to help with solidarity.
We have only a limited time left to participate in the fundraising campaign aimed at supporting our comrades inside factories.

message by a factory worker shared on August 23rd, 2023

Original message in Burmese:

နိုင်ငံတကာမှာ ရှိနေတဲ့ သမဂ္ဂညီအကို မောင်နှမများကို ကျွန်မအနေနဲ့ အကူအညီတောင်းချင်ပါတယ်။ ကျွန်မသည် မြန်မာနိုင်ငံအထည်ချုပ်လုပ်ငန်းခွင်ထဲက အလုပ်သမားတစ်ဦးဖြစ်ပြီးတော့ အလုပ်သမား သမဂ္ဂခေါင်းဆောင်တစ်ဦးလည်းဖြစ်ပါတယ်။ ကျွန်မတို့ အလုပ်သမား သမဂ္ဂဟာ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံအထွေထွေအလုပ်သမား သမဂ္ဂများအဖွဲ့ချုပ် ရဲ့ အဖွဲ့ဝင်သမဂ္ဂတစ်ခုလည်း ဖြစ်ပါတယ်။ စစ်အာဏာမသိမ်းခင်ကဆိုရင် ကျွန်မတို့ အလုပ်သမားတွေဟာ လုပ်ငန်းခွင်တွေထဲက အလုပ်ရှင်တွေရဲ့ ဖိနှိပ်မှုတွေ၊ လုပ်အား ခေါင်းပုံဖြတ်မှုတွေ၊ အလုပ်သမားအခွင့်အရေးတွေကို သမဂ္ဂအင်အားနဲ့ တိုက်ယူခဲ့ကြရပါတယ်။ လက်ရှိမှာလည်း စက်ရုံလုပ်ငန်းခွင်တွေဟာ စစ်အာဏာသိမ်းမှုကြောင့် ငရဲခန်းနဲ့ မခြားတဲ့ လုပ်ငန်းခွင်တွေဖြစ်နေပါတယ်။ သပိတ်တိုက်ပွဲတွေနဲ့ မစိမ်းတဲ့ ကျွန်မတို့ အလုပ်သမားတွေဟာ စစ်အာဏာသိမ်းအပြီး ၂၀၂၁ခုနှစ်၊ ဖေဖော်ဝါရီ (၅) ရက်နေ့မှာတော့ စက်ရုံတွင်း စစ်အာဏာရှင်ဆန့်ကျင်ရေး လှုပ်ရှားမှုတွေ စတင်ခဲ့ပါတယ်။ နောက်တရက် ဖေဖော်ဝါရီ (၆) ရက်နေ့မှာ စစ်အာဏာရှင် ဆန့်ကျင်ရေး လမ်းပေါ်ထွက်ချီတက် လှုပ်ရှားမှုကို သမဂ္ဂခေါင်းဆောင်များအပါအဝင် စက်ရုံအလုပ်သမားထုနဲ့အတူ ချီတက်ခဲ့ကြပြီးတော့ အဆိုပါလှုပ်ရှားမှုဟာ ရန်ကုန်မြို့မှာ အစောဆုံး စစ်အာဏာရှင်စနစ်ဆန့်ကျင်ရေး လှုပ်ရှားမှုဖြစ်ခဲ့ပါတယ်။
ဒီနောက်ပိုင်းမှာတော့ ကျွန်မတို့ အလုပ်သမားသမဂ္ဂတွေကို မလိုလားတဲ့ အလုပ်ရှင်တွေဟာ စစ်တပ်နဲ့ပူးပေါင်းပြီးတော့ စက်ရုံလုပ်ငန်းခွင်တွေအထိ အလုပ်သမားသမဂ္ဂခေါင်းဆောင်တွေ၊ အဖွဲ့ဝင်တွေကို ဝင်ရောက်ဖမ်းဆီးခဲ့ပါတယ်။ လုပ်ငန်းခွင်တွေကနေ ထွက်ပြေးတိမ်းရှောင်ရလို့ အလုပ်လက်မဲ့ ဖြစ်နေရတဲ့အလုပ်သမားတွေများစွာရှိပါတယ်။ စစ်တပ်ရဲ့ ဖမ်းစီးမှုကြောင့် ထောင်ကျနေတဲ့ အလုပ်သမားတွေလည်း ရှိနေပါတယ်။ လက်ရှိအချိန်မှာတော့ လုပ်ငန်းခွင်တွေထဲမှာ အလုပ်ရှင်တွေရဲ့ဖိနှိပ်မှု အခက်ခဲများစွာကြားကနေ စစ်အာဏာရှင်စနစ်ကို တော်လှန်နေတဲ့ အလုပ်သမားရဲဘော်တွေ၊ ထောင်ကျနေတဲ့ အလုပ်သမားရဲဘော်တွေ၊ လုပ်ငန်းခွင်အတွင်းက လူ့အခွင့်အရေး၊အမျိုးသမီးအခွင့်အရေး၊ အလုပ်သမားအခွင့်အရေး ချိုးဖောက်ခံနေကြရတဲ့ သမဂ္ဂအဖွဲ့ဝင်အလုပ်သမားများစွာအတွက် အကူအညီများလိုအပ်နေပါတယ်။နိုင်ငံတကာမှာရှိနေသည့် သမဂ္ဂညီအကို မောင်နှမများအနေဖြင့် သွေးစည်းညီညွှတ်မှုဖြင့်ကူညီပေးကြဖို့ မေတ္တာရပ်ခံအပ်ပါတယ်။
အလုပ်သမားရဲဘော်တွေအတွက် ရန်ပုံငွေရှာတဲ့ ကမ်ပိန်းမှာ ပါဝင်ပေးကြဖို့ ရက်အနည်းငယ်သာကျန်ပါတော့တယ်။ အဲ့ဒါကြောင့်မို့ အမြန်ဆုံး ကူညီပေးကြဖို့ တိုက်တွန်းနှိုးဆော်ပါရစေ။

Some background info:

The FGWM consists of 40 (factory) labour unions and keeps uniting thousands of members. It is one of the very few labour federations known to us in Asia, which follows a grassroots approach. The FGWM has its roots in the textile factories of the industrial zones in Myanmar. The vast majority of secretaries had to flee to escape pocecution by the military junta and now operates from a house in exile. Some of the comrades who initiated this fundraising met them at their house last year. They emphasized they some of them only managed to escape with the support provided by the previous fundraising done last year.
Despite the military dictatorship they continue with their efforts. The FGWM supports workers to get organised, follows labour fights (like the recent strike at Sun Apparel), which still take place under great danger, and also tries to support members facing state repression, for example seeking refuge or supporting them in prison as far as this is possible. Another focal point is to provide training opportunities for factory workers in regards to organising and labour struggles. All of this can’t be upheld without external support. Due to the extremely precarious living conditions, which evolved especially after the military coup in February 2021, the income of membership fees collapsed. Their supportive partners on the international level are the ICL Working Group Asia as well as the Solidarity Center.

For more information:

Who is behind the fundraising?

It was initiated by the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Hamburg together with the FGWM. And by now it is being also supported and conducted by comrades of other FAU syndicates, the IWW WISE-RA as well as Earth Strike UK.

Great! So what can I do?

First of all, you can support the work of FGWM by simply contributing to the fundraising. You can do so with a credit card using the firefund page or by transfering to the account of FAU Hamburg.

Account name: AS FAU Hamburg
IBAN: DE43 4306 0967 2070 7898 00
Bank name: GLS Bank
Purpose: FGWM solidarity

In the end all contributions will be added to the firefund page. The amounts submitted via firefund will only be deducted from your account, if the fundraising is successful, i.e. in case the goal of 15 000 EUR is reached.
Furthermore you can help to inform many others about this effort by spreading the links listed at the beginning. Furthermore you can order a stylish solidarity shirt at DNA Merch. They will take orders until August 31st 2023 and then ask a textile/ printing collective in Croatia to make them.

Union busting following strike at JAKO factory in Yangon (Sun Apparel)

Workers at Sun Apparel Myanmar Co. Ltd garment factory have been on strike since June 6, 2023. Almost the whole factory workforce, totalling just more than 400 workers, united in the strike action.
One of their main demands is an increase of the basic daily wage from 4,800 MMK (approx. 2.09€) to 6,000 MMK (approx. 2.61€) per day. According to the minimum wage law, the minimum wage should be reviewed every 2 years and the last time the minimum wage was set in 2018. Since then, no review took place. In the industrial zone, there are a number of factories which have recently increased the minimum daily wage to 5,600 MMK per day, which also motivated the workers to go on strike. The increase in wages is vital due to the significant inscreases in prices for basic commodities. Not increasing wages since 2018 is like cutting your wages each month!

According to sources close to the military council, M.T.W., the leader of the Sun Apparel Myanmar garment factory protest workers, has been arrested by the military council. M.T.W. was arrested a day before the scheduled date to negotiate the demands.

The sources also said that it was known that M.T.W. was arrested at around 11:00 p.m. on June 14, and was taken to the No. 1 Army Military Affairs Security Support Unit for questioning.


Another main demand is the increase of attendance bonus from 20,000 MMK (approx. 8.70€) to 40,000 MMK per month. This bonus was deducted during the Covid pandemic to 10,000 MMK and still remains at 10,000 MMK. In addition to these two main demands, there are several other demands related to serious violations of labour rights.

Those include:

  • Factory management calls for meetings during the workers’ lunch break.
  • Although there is no clause prohibiting to bring your mobile phone to the workplace, they are confiscated during work hours and not even stored properly, so that in some cases they are returned damaged.
  • For those workers who can’t or don’t want to work overtime after an eight-hour work day, the factory does not arrange return ferries to their homes. Furthermore the management refuses to pay the piece rate fees for the completed pieces during these eight hours.
  • The factory owners don’t provide a proper dining place for lunch breaks and therefore workers must eat at the car parking space.
  • The drinking water that the factory owners provide to the local workers is unclean and the drinking water tank is located just 3 feet away from the toilets for the female workers. In contrast, the factory provides commercial clean drinking water bottles to the foreign staff at the workplace.

Two leaders of the factory union were arrested so far, in an attempt to crush the strike.
The factory union at Sun Apparel is part of the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM). You can support them by contributing to this fundraising ending August 31st, 2023.

Sun Apparel Myanmar garment factory is located in industrial zone 5 in Hlaingthayar township in Yangon and it is operating with a workforce of more than 400. According to the data collected since January 2022, Sun Apparel is a regular supplier to the JAKO sports clothing brand based in Germany.

Any possible calls against JAKO will also be announced here.