See earlier posts:-In support of Burmese workers struggle for worker rights
In a sign of growing labor unrest, garment factory workers in Rangoon launched a sit-in strike on Wednesday evening to call for a pay increase and better working conditions. Security has been tightened around the affected factory area, with about 15 riot police trucks deployed.
The strike started around 4 pm yesterday at the Sky garment factory in the western part of Insein Township in Rangoon, and about 100 factory workers participated in the strike, calling for an increase in basic salary, better overtime pay and days off on public holidays, a local resident said.
Workers at the Opal garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, where strikes took place last week. (Source:www.myanmargarment.net)
“The problem still continues in that factory,” confirmed a senior official from the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), adding that government officials, factory owners and workers are now negotiating over the workers' demands.
The event follows last week's labor strikes by thousands of factory workers in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, about 11 km from the center of Rangoon. The government sent hundreds of riot police to the area. The workers were demanding an increase of 10,000 kyat (US $10) in salary and ended the strike after employers agreed to pay half the amount.
“The workers want an increase of 100 kyat ($0.10) for overtime pay and an increase of basic salary,” said a local resident, adding that riot police trucks, a police custody van and a fire engine are still deployed near the factory.
The official from the UMFCCI said that the unrest is related to recent pay hikes for government employees. Public servants' monthly salaries were raised by a flat rate of 20,000 kyat ($20) in January.
Rangoon sources said that workers in garment factories in other townships have also been demanding increased pay, and the factory owners agreed to talk over the demand, telling them not to launch a strike and contact the media. - The Irrawaddy, 17/2/2010, Another Strike in Rangoon, as Labor Unrest Continues