Charges filed against union leaders in Myanmar

19 February 2019 21:40


CTUM Assistant General Secretary Sandar Phyo Soe was among seven trade union leaders who will likely face civil legal action due to their role in organising protests in Yangon and Mandalay. More than 2500 people in Yangon and another 1000 in Mandalay, participated in two rounds of protest actions calling on the Government to engage in meaningful consultation with workers in law-making.

“Our solidarity is with the workers of Myanmar and the CTUM, who bravely organized these demonstrations against bad law and are now being subjected to legal action as a result of their efforts,” said BWI general secretary Ambet Yuson. “We are calling on the Myanmar Government to consult meaningfully with workers, and to implement the recommendations from the ILO Direct Contact Mission last year.”

“The Parliament has never seriously engaged with us, despite the fact that these rules are supposed to be made in a tripartite manner,” said CTUM Assistant General Secretary Sandar Phyo Soe. “We will not sit back and let our name be used to legitimize trade union-busting. We will fight back.”

Thes latest round of protest action followed another march on 3 February. More broadly, the CTUM has laid out thirteen demands, including freedom of association, the development of a labour court, and lifting of restrictions on construction workers to join trade unions.

Soe said that consultation through the Tripartite National Dialogue Forum (NTDF) had broken down due to a consistent failure by the Government to take any of the union’s recommendations into account. The October 2018 ILO Direct Contact Mission underscored the importance of this engagement, providing recommendations on how to ensure better compliance with ILO core conventions.

Myanmar’s labour law has come along way in a short period of time since opening up in 2011, and trade unions have been at the forefront of the push for a fairer society.