Since the International Conference of Labor Unions in the Garment Industry in Colombo (Sri Lanka) in February this year, comrades of the ICL have been following the struggle of garment workers in different factories in Myanmar. One of them is run by Myan Mode Co., Ltd within Shwe Linban Industrial Zone in Yangon Region.
Workers there produce mostly for brands such as Zaraand Mango and have been resisting union busting efforts by the factory owner. At the end of March 571 workers were dismissed, 520 of which were union members. From the start ICL members support their struggle.
We are happy to hear that two months of strikes and protests resulted in a victory for the workers!
There were those workers who didn’t accept the offered compensation from the factory owner during negotiations. They were reinstated immediately and started work again on June 1st. Then there were those workers who joined the walk-outs and strikes but accepted the compensation. They were also reinstated from July onwards. Both groups consist of 74 workers. The remaining dismissed workers will be rehired once orders from brands come back in.
Below is a message of the General Secretary of Myan Mode Union to people across the world who supported their struggle. Also a picture was taken in front of the factory with those workers returning to work on June 1st.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We reached the agreement with Myan Mode employer on 30th May 2020. We wanted all our dismissed union brothers and sisters to be reinstated but due to the harsh resistance from the employer, we negotiated with the employer for the immediate reinstatement of all dismissed workers who did not take compensation and the reinstatement of all walk-out workers in June and July who joined the strike to protest the employer’s unfair dismissal of union workers.
This was not an easy fight. It took exactly two months to reach to this level of progress. This progress would not have been possible without your assistance and solidarity to our fight.
We wholeheartedly thank you and we hope someday we cay return your solidarity. We returned to work on 1st June and took photos in front of the factory to show our heartfelt thanks to all the people who assisted and supported our fight. The photos are attached here and they are public. The group in the photo is small and we will take another photo with bigger group when all the 74 workers are reinstated and returned to work in July.
[Myan Mode Union, General Secretary]
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