As Burma’s political, economic and social spheres continue to gradually open up there has been increasing dissatisfaction among workers and those who have been denied a voice for the past several decades. This is evident by the recent case where workers rallied for improved working conditions in a wood furniture factory in Rangoon.

On October 8 workers at the Tawwin Family Co., Ltd’s Finished Products and Furniture Factory in Myaungdagar Industrial Zone in Rangoon conducted a rally in front of the company’s office calling for better working conditions. According to reports, the rally was merely a delegation of workers attending a negotiation session between the company and the workers with no marching, chanting or placards. After the protest, the workers were charged by the police for participating in an illegal demonstration.

With the recent passing of new labour laws and regulations which have allowed workers limited ability to strike and join and form trade unions, workers have increasingly begun taking to the streets to improve their wages and living conditions. However, this expression of democratic rights by workers has also been met with repression and heavy-handed responses by the government, including the recent case.

While strikes and labour stoppages have been occurring in a number of industries, there has been increasing moves within the furniture and wood sector in Burma to establish unions and ensure the protection of workers’ rights. The BWI will continue to work with trade unions within Burma to promote the growth of union membership in the wood, forestry, building and construction sectors and to ensure workers receive protection and support when expressing their democratic and human rights.

Link: http://www.bwint.org/default.asp?Index=4474&Language=EN