14 striking workers face riot charges following arrest

0301201Yangon, 5 March—Fourteen striking workers face trial on rioting charges following their arrest during a crackdown by authorities midweek, Police Lt-Col Myint Lwin of Yangon North District Police said Thursday.
No one was injured during the crackdown, according to a police source.
The 14 workers — eight men and six women — face up to two years in prison and fines if convicted under Section 147 of the Punishing for Rioting act.
To disperse the protestors and to detain those who led the unlawful protest and instigated the riots, authorities used men without arms under Penal Code Section 128, while the police provided security to both protestors and the public, Police Lt-Col Myint Lwin told a press conference at Yangon Region Government.
About 90 workers took to the street on Wednesday morning without seeking permission in accordance with the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, shouting slogans along the No-4 Road in western part of Yangon.
Authorities decided to disperse the strikers after negotiations broke down in the evning.
Sixteen people were arrested at the scene, with two later confirmed as journalists and released, said Police Lt-Col Myint Htway of Yangon East District Police Force.
The Wednesday protest paralyzed one fourth of the commodity flow into Yangon Region as it blocked the No. 4 Road, said U Zaw Aye Maung, Deputy Chairman of Yangon Region Labour Disputes Arbitration Committee.
Most of the workers facing trial are from two garment factories which are in dispute with their workers for better payment, according to an official of the Labour, Factories and General Labour Law Inspection Department (FGLLID).
A majority of factory workers involved in the strike for better wages are returning to work, and out of 1,200 Costec Garment Factory workers, 927, or 78 per cent of the factory’s work force, showed up for work, while the number of workers on the Ford Glory Garment Factory’s production line had risen to 420 or 69 per cent of the factory’s 611 workers on Thursday, with negotiations between the workers and management underway, said U Zaw Aye Maung.
Out of 916 Red Stone Garment Factory workers, 865 or 94 per cent of the factory’s workforce have returned to their jobs so far after the factory’s owner and workers reached a 12-point agreement on 16 February, he added.
Meanwhile, Taiyi Factory saw 97 per cent of its total workforce on Thursday, U Zaw Aye Maung said.
E-Land Myanmar Garment Factory and the factory’s striking workers have signed an agreement on Thursday morning, according to the Yangon Region Labour Disputes Arbitration Committee.—GNLM

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