Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific
28 January 2017
Burma: Nickel mine workers protest
Close to 1,500 workers from the Chinese-managed Tagaung Taung Nickel Factory in Burma’s Sagaing Region stopped work on January 19 to protest over working conditions. Their action followed a protest in December over the same issues.
Workers complained about the loss of job opportunities and alleged discrepancies between how the foreign and local workers are treated. The factory employs around 1,600 Myanmar workers and about 400 Chinese migrant workers. The protesting workers demanded the same benefits, such as the healthcare and social security plans, allegedly offered to their Chinese colleagues.
The Tagaung Taung factory began mining in 2009 after the government and China Nonferrous Metal Mining Co (CNMC) signed a product-sharing contract.
Panda garment factory workers resume protest
Over 600 striking workers from the Panda Textile Factory in Mandalay, central Burma, resumed demonstrating outside the factory on Sunday. They have been on strike since June to demand payments they claim they are entitled to under their current employment contracts.
Mediation talks with workers’ representatives, factory management and the regional government two weeks ago failed at the last minute. While most of the workers’ demands were agreed to, the company refused to reappoint four employees who had been fired for protesting.
Workers alleged that the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and a labour rights judge had previously instructed the company to reappoint the sacked workers.
The protests resumed at the factory gate after the company announced additions to its employment handbook. Workers said a clause had been added to the handbook stating that…