Daw Zar Zar Latt, an executive member of the Panda Textile and Garments factory, said the management warned 300 workers who have yet to sign the employment contract that they would also be fired if they continue to defy the order.
“It was a one-sided proposition from the factory’s owner, that is why we don’t want to sign the contract. On August 4, we got fired and not allowed to return to work. It is clear that the factory owner is breaking the law. We have informed labour office about it so we have to wait and see how they will respond,” she said.
Last week, up to 150 workers protested over the insistence of the management for the employees to sign the contract. The fired workers were among those who joined the protest.
“We were fired with the approval of the factory manager. We had negotiation but when we failed to get compromise, they fired us. The Labour Law doesn’t state that workers shall be dismissed if they don’t sign employment contract,” Daw Zar Zar Latt said.
On July 20, the factory issued a notice informing its workers that the decision to compel the workers to sign the employment contract did not come from the management but from the government, which used to operate the factory, said the factory general manager Daw Tin Tin Shwe.
“Rules are also set in collaboration with the coordination committee formed in the factory. Of 1000 workers, about 600 signed the contract which includes 21 terms and conditions,” she said.
The factory was used to be run by the government as the Paleik No. 2 Factory, but in 2012, the ministry called for tenders to privatise the firm, and Panda won the bidding with a long-term lease costing K360 million ( US$ 245,432) annually and noted by the Myanmar Investment Commission on March 9, 2016.