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We Will Continue our Fights until we Achieve Full Basic Workers’ Rights

By Workers and Farmers Solidarity League of Burma  •  March 8, 2010

No. 3/2010 (WFSLB)

1. In harmony and solidarity, we, sisters and brothers from different factories of Hlaing Thar Yar, Insein, Shwe Pyi Thar and Mingalar Done of Rangoon Division, have been holding peaceful strikes and sit-ins to get full basic workers’ rights, which is a common and urgent concern for us all.

2. The salary increase for government servants in January 2010 brought a sharp increase in commodity prices. Consequently, Burmese workers who already had to survive on less than livable wages and have long suffered from the critical economic situation of Burma, now face double daily hardships. Meanwhile the government servants find themselves in exactly the same position as before the salary increase because of the rise in costs of goods. We workers feel like we are sinking in a muddy field, the harder we struggle to get out, the deeper we sink. We believe the government servants must also feel the same.

3. The daily hardships of the workers in Burma are beyond endurance. The working environment is neither safe nor hygienic, the working hours are excessive and the wages are not living wages. We cannot cover the cost of our health care, of our children’s education, and there are days when we do not have money for our daily meals. Therefore, we, the workers, have organized strikes to call for proper living wages. We have gone out on strike despite the intimidation and threatening behavior of the riot police, the military intelligence, special branch police and the USDA bikers.

4. Our demands are fair, just and simple. We call for:

  • Proper living wages
  • 8 hour working days
  • Overtime wages
  • Provision of transportation
  • Health and life insurance
  • The right to refuse to do work which is outside our allotted work
  • The right to strike and protest our working conditions without fear of being dismissed. Workers’ leaders must not lose their jobs for leading workers actions for their rights.

5. We believe that the main reasons behind the current crisis are 1) the economy is controlled by the military regime and their cronies, 2) the lack of labor laws which protect the workers in accordance with international standard and 3) lack of independent trade unions and workers’ associations which can represent workers.

6. Therefore, we ask the military regime not to betray the workers anymore by crushing the workers’ strikes. In order to solve the problems the workers are now facing, we further demand the junta to fulfill the following requirements;

  1. to allow workers rights and having labor laws in accordance with international standards
  2. to allow the formation of workers’ unions
  3. to have a standard living wage
  4. to solve the current problems faced by workers through negotiations between employees, workers’ representatives, government and International Labor Organization (ILO).

7. Unless the government and the employers fulfill our demands for our immediate needs, in particular for a proper living wage, we will continue and escalate our strikes, protests and demonstrations.

8. We earnestly appeal to government servants, the entire working force of Burma, all our sisters and brothers, to join hand in hand with us to fight for our basic rights. We must not waiver an inch in our fight until we achieve full basic workers’ rights for all workers.

Unite All Oppressed Workers and Farmers!

Workers and Farmers Solidarity League of Burma (WFSLB)
Rangoon, Burma

To contact : wfslb2009@gmail.com

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This post is in: Press Release

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