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.source: khaingzaraung.com
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.
- 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.