The Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM) shares the following updates:
- Myanmar industrial workers, especially garment workers are in the front line against military dictatorship in Myanmar since the start of the coup and until now. They are still participating in every possible way in the struggle against the military junta, such as participating in flash mob strikes, online campaigns and funding the resistance forces.
- The majority of garment workers are women. At the workplace, they face the violation of labour rights on various levels; e.g forced overtime without compensation, higher production targets demanded by bosses, pressure on permanent workers to resign and be employed again as daily wage workers. Recently a new trend can be observed: owners close their factories, re-open them again with another name, and re-hire workers as daily wage workers. Factory owners want to get rid of permanent workers to avoid having to pay legal entitlements. This is one way of how factory owners worsen working conditions and the life of workers in Myanmar. Due to the social and economic hardships, and lack of employment opportunities, an increase in child labour can be observed in the garment sector.
- In the past two years the world was able to witness the brutality of the military towards the people in Mynamar. Thousands of civilians were killed and villages attacked. Many of which burnt down during air strikes.
- The Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM) and Myanmar Labour Alliance (MLA), together with over 200 other civil society organizations, keep calling for the support of comprehensive economic sanctions on Myanmar. This is the only way to stop flow of money to the Myanmar military.
- Brands are taking advantage of the political instability. In factories producing for major brands such as H&M, Lindex and Mark Apparel, workers are being attacked by supervisors, for example with a hot iron. These violent acts are part of a structural problem. They aim to put workers unter pressure to finish production targets. There are no mechanisms in place to prevent this kind of power abuse.
The FGWM joins Global May Day 2023 and will created t-shirts with these prints:
This year the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Hamburg actively supported a rally with the focus on the struggle against patriarchy on the global level. Inputs were held on the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Platz on the current conditions in Iran, Myanmar as well as Zimbabwe while also refering to patriarchal structures in Germany and Europe. Around 50 people joined the rally, partly with self-made signs.
The rally was shaped by faces of political prisoners in Iran, who are part of the feminist movement there. That’s why the predominant slogan of the day was Woman – Life – Freedom, which has its root in the Kurdish liberation movement.
After about an hour the main 8M demo of the day – organized by a broad local alliance passed by the rally. One of the rally organizers held a speech directed at the thousands of participants, pointing out the global dimension of the struggle against patriarchy.
Below you will find some more on the content presented at the rally:
- One of the focal points was the current feminist movement in Iran. Exemplarily inputs were given on the political prisoners Soheila Hejab, Sepideh Gholian, Zeynab Jalalian and the rappy Toomaj Salehi. Among others the song Shallagh by Toomaj and the rapper Justine was played, in which they express their support for the feminist movement:
- That input was followed by a message recorded by our friends of the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM). The original audio file (in English) was played and each paragraph translated into German:
(The translation can also be downloaded here (.pdf).)
- Last but not least Patience prepared an input. Though she doesn’t live in Hamburg, she recorded a message for the rally as well. She focussed on the patriarchal circumstances in Zimbabwe. You can listen to her message here:
(A translation of the text into German can be downloaded here (.pdf).)
The rally came to a closing end when members of the hip hop collective Rapfugees spontaneously performed some tracks. Everyone appreciated that. A big THANKS goes out to them! You can check out their music here.
Statement released by the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM) to commemorate two years of military dictatorship following the coup in February 2021:
A Statement by the worker mass regarding the 2nd anniversary of 2021 Anti-junta Movements
Date : 5th February 2023
The Military junta forcibly seized power on 1st February 2021. In such miserable times, the public also experienced misleading information such as no public-protesting within 72 hours of the attempted coup. On 5th February, conscious workers of FGWM rose up against the Military Dictatorship. Over 12,000 workers and union leaders from 10 factories began the “Red Ribbon” campaign. On the next day, February 6th, workers and labour unions leaders marched through Insein Road and Parami Sein Gayhar Shopping Mall amidst all the risks and threats, protesting the coup and the military dictatorship. Students, People and Monks who joined the protesting workers will be remembered by our FGWM.
On this 6th February, it has been two years since the worker mass courageously rose up against the coup. As FGWM, we would like to declare to the public that we will vigorously continue our struggle until the fall of the dictatorship along with the workers.
With ultimate faith to the revolution,
Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM)
To mark one year of resistance against the military junta in Myanmar, the grassroot unions of the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM) submitted the statement below. A statement that is also being supported by the International Confederation of Labour (ICL), Industrial Workers of the World Wales, Ireland Scotland, England Regional Administration (IWW WISE-RA), SAC-Syndikalisterna as well as the International Committee of the Free Workers Union (FAU).
In this context it is worth pointing out the fundraising efforts currently being coordinated together with comrades of FGWM in support of the resistance movement.Continue reading
Report from a fellow worker on the ground:
Sisters and brothers of the San Yuan Garment factory, members of the Federation of Garment Workers Myanmar (FGWM), celebrate their first day back to work by singing “Solidarity Forever” in Burmese.
After the factory mass-fired all union members for organizing a union to demand improvements in working conditions including Covid-19 safety measures, the union has fought for months and won reinstatement of all union members and beat back the union-busting using a strong membership and international solidarity from the Spanish and American labor movements.
The workers produce mainly for ZARA and Bershka (both Inditex Group).
International worker solidarity is both a necessity and an unstoppable force!
At factories named Very impressive Prospects (ViP) sporting goods are produced mostly for brands such as Mizuno, Evil Bikes, Pivot Cycles and CCM Sports. The factories are located in Myanmar.
Labor unions at ViP 1 and ViP 2 factory demanded Covid-19 safety measures – both of them members of the Federation of Garment Workers Myanmar (FGWM). In reaction all union members in both factories were dismissed. Furthermore the ViP 2 factory union president was stabbed by company thugs. It is a clear, brutal case of union-busting. Despite months of direct outreach from the unions, the brands have refused to intervene or mediate whatsoever.
Therefore comrades worldwide are asked to support the effort by reaching out to the brands using the campaign page on labourstartcampaigns.net.
The Federation of Garment Workers Myanmar (FGWM) expresses its solidarity with the garment workers at Dragon Sweater as part of the Global Month of Solidarity.
FGWM unites unions of 20 factories. The main struggle they are facing is union busting by targeted reduction of union members and leaders using CoViD-19 as a pretext, similar to developments at Dragon Sweater in Dhaka. Unions at four factories are currently involved in direct fights with the owners. Two are in the garment sector and another two are involved in lens and electronic materials production.
On August 16th workers of various factories took pictures in front of the FGWM union house located in Yangon.