Factory workers in Yangon on a strike calling for better wages in 2017. (Photo: Zarny Win/Myanmar Now)
Aung Nyein Chan/Myanmar Now
A major labor union in Myanmar plans on proposing an increase in the daily minimum wage that would nearly double the current figure, citing rising costs of living in the country.
Win Zaw, a central committee member of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar, said at a briefing in Yangon on October 17 that the official proposal will occur at a tripartite meeting of employers, labourers and government officials in December.
After that, negotiations will ensue and objections can be registered with the National Minimum Wage Fixing Committee within a period of 60 days.
The previous military-backed administration of President Thein Sein set the wage at 3,600 kyats (or $2.60) for an eight-hour workday, with exemptions for small business employing fewer than 15 workers.
CTUM arrived at the new figure after conducting a survey of 130 businesses in six states and regions from June to August this year.
Win Zaw said the wage committee could arrive at a new rate by April.
Khine Zar Aung, a member of the CTUM and the wage committee, said that stakeholders need to understand the importance of the minimum wage and decent working conditions so as to increase production and economic development.
Myanmar has one of the lowest minimum wages in the region, but is attempting to boost its manufacturing base.
Tin Shwe, the owner of Shwe Oh Liquor Factory in Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar Industrial Zone, said he is prepared to pay the increase if workers and
employers agree on the figure.
“The new minimum labour wage should be set at a common rate for all businesses,” he said.