Mon 15 Oct 2012
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Hundreds of workers from Taw Win timber factory protested outside the Taw Win headquarters on Yangon’s U Wisara Road last week, calling for a meeting with the company’s managing director to discuss their grievances.
Workers said the company’s officials had treated them unfairly and regularly cancelled their employment contracts.
“We are mainly calling for equal opportunities between all workers in the factory because managers treat the workers unfairly,” U Htet Ko Ko, secretary of the workers’ union at Taw Win timber factory, said during the October 8 protest.
“We wonder whether the owner of the factory knows that his managers treat workers this way. Or does he allow them to treat us like that? That’s why we have come here to meet with him and to speak with him about our rights,” he said.
He said factory managers treat workers well if they like them and give them more opportunities than those they don’t like.
The workers waited several hours but Taw Win managing director U Ko Ko Htwe did not front the crowd.
“I can’t meet with them now. There is a director responsible for the factory and also there is a foreman. Today these workers are here because they don’t listen and they don’t care about the director and foreman. If I go to them and solve the problem, it will undermine the authority of the director and the foreman. They won’t be able to control the workers in the future,” U Ko Ko Htwe said.
U Ko Ko Htwe said the company’s managers at the timber factory had treated all workers fairly.
“In my company, the workers who try harder and are better qualified will get mroe chances. I like workers who really try hard to do their job well and who have ability. So I think the managers in the factory favour those kind of people,” he said.
“Usually I raise salaries five times a year. And I give some opportunities without workers even having to ask for it. Today I reported everything I do for the workers to the relevant official at the Ministry of Labour. So if there is something I need to do for the workers that I’m not doing already, they will tell me.”
Workers previously protested on September 14 and September 24, demanding not only a fair work environment but also Social Security Board cards and a negotiating team formed with the approval of the Ministry of Labour, among other things.
“We made a contract with management on September 25. They really did most of the things they agreed to do, except for equal opportunities for workers and the Social Security Board card,” said timber factory worker U Wai Min Thet.