Ministry of Labour Announcement 22 May 2021

Republic of the Union of Myanmar
National Unity Government
Ministry of Labour
Announcement
22 May 2021

1. On 1st February 2021, the military junta, by using arms, arbitrarily detained the political leaders and illegally staged a coup. Therefore, labour forces began their peaceful strikes against the military junta immediately six days after the coup; 6-2-2021. As these labour forces continue to fight against the military junta since then until today by sacrificing their lives, homes and livelihoods, while also in the midst of being arrested and put into jail, the Ministry of Labour hereby appraised their spirits. At the same time, the ministry has also planned to make a list of our heroes who have sacrificed their lives during the revolution to honour them.

2. Since the old days, Myanmar has not been able to enjoy a fruitful democracy and therefore, workers eventually could not fully enjoy their rightful opportunities. Nowadays, when the inhumane military junta currently staged a coup illegally, speaking of labour rights is far from being possible. Some employers have started hearing the military junta’s continuous abuses of various labour rights and suppressions since the early days of the military coup. Moreover, some employers have even illegally removed workers from their positions and cut off wages. Henceforth, the brutal acts and suppressions of these employers could be assumed as the same cause of that of the military junta’s, and the Ministry of Labour highly condemns them. On the other side, the ministry will keep records of those employers who supports the National Unity Government and stand against the military junta.

3. For this reason, the ministry has set forth in the following five policies which will acted accordingly based on the current ongoing situation:-

  • To ensure the National Unity Government can receive assistance and support from the international community
  • To protect the rights of the domestic workers
  • To obtain assistance from employers who support the National Unity Government and to take actions on those who support the military junta
  • To enact Labour laws in accordance with the standards of democracy
  • To eradicate the military junta

4. In relation to the implementation of the policies stated above, the ministry has included both long-term and short-term processes. With regards to the short-term process, the ministry will strive to protect the rights of the workers working inside and outside of Myanmar to a full extent, provide assistance, obtain international recognition for the National Unity Government, isolate the military junta from the civilized society and completely remove the military junta. The ministry will also build strong infrastructure for the development and protection of the labour rights under the new government. But on one hand, there have been various Myanmar immigrant workers working abroad as Myanmar is a developing country and it falls short of development on all sides. Meanwhile, there was no specific focal department under the Ministry of Labour  to settle workers’ issues in the past. Therefore, domestic workers frequently faced labour rights abuses and encountered various losses. So with an intention to resolve and supplement these necessities, the Ministry of Labour, through the agreement of the National Unity Government, will organize an Immigrant Workers Department to deal with matters related to the rights of Myanmar immigrant workers working abroad.

5. After the revolution, Myanmar will be flourished with various industrial businesses and investments. At the same time, increasing numbers of employers and workers issues can be expected. However, even the existing issues between employers and workers could not be settled and these tensions and disputes continue to extend due to the weakness of the Settlement of Labour Dispute Law. At this rate, it became demanding to amend such law in order to solve the employers and workers issues, and necessary to create a Labour Court in the long-run. In addition, the existing Minimum Wages Law also needs to consider appropriate wage rates for the workers depending on the regions and workplaces. So in order to ensure implementing these processes smoothly after successfully overthrowing the military regime, it is fundamental to establish and set basic principles from this point onwards. Further discussions on protection of child labours, disabled labours, immigrant workers and temporary workers shall also be conducted so that to enact these laws respectively in the future. Existing labour related legislations which do not meet the international standards and current domestic situation shall also be considered for appropriate amendment and drafting new laws in line with the democratic norms.

6. Last but not the least, the role of civil servants, who worked for the Ministry of Labour and are currently joining the Civil Disobedience Movement to fight against the military junta, is vital. Our ministry highly regards and appraises the sacrifices of these civil servants, and have laid down necessary plans to protect and support them effectively. On the other hand, there are also civil servants who enthusiastically support the military junta and are helping them to suppress their colleagues from the same ministry.  Therefore, the ministry hereby affirms its commitment to take necessary actions on these groups of people.

7. As the ultimate goal of the National Unity Government is to establish a Federal Democratic Union, the Ministry of Labour under this government confirms to fulfill the ambition of its government with all mights and rights until the goal is reached.

Ministry of Labour
National Unity Government