[dropcap color=”#1e73be” font=”0″]T[/dropcap]he parliament formed after the General Elections of 2010, enacted a landmark legislation regarding the right to form organizations of workers by the workers themselves. This had come after years of pointing out by the ILOsince the early sixties, of non-compliance by Myanmar of the ILO Freedom of Association Convention which Myanmar had ratified in 1948.
The legislation referred to is ’The Labour Organization Law of 2011’.The law is to protect the rights of worker, to promote good relations among the workers or between the employer and the worker and to enable workers to form labour organizations independently and systematically. It replaces the Trade Unions Act of 1926 .In the spirit of the Freedom of Association Convention which includes freedom of employers to form associations as well, the new law has provisions whereby employers may also form organizations of their own.
Another landmark piece of legislation relating to Industrial Relations is the “Settlement of Labour Disputes Law” enacted by the Pyidaungsau Hluttaw in 2012.It replaces the Trade Disputes Act of 1929. The new law features a more effective mechanism for the settlement of labour disputes in that it includes collective bargaining and the drawing up of Collective Agreements between Employers’ and Workers’representatives relating tothe demands of the workers.
With theenactment of the “The Labour Organization Law of 2011”, workers from various factories and establishments both in the private and public sectors,have been forming organizations of their own at enterprise levels. Some of the labour organizations are trying out their wings for making demands on employers for higher wages and better conditions of work.
At times these demands have led to strikes, whichsometimes seem to be on the borderline of legality. Perhaps it’s because some of the labour organizations have yet to learn how to go about getting their demands in a more orderly fashion within the framework of the “Settlement of Labour Disputes Law of 2012”. They have yet to learn the skills of collective bargaining with the Employers and their Organizations, so as to get their demands through negotiation and at the same time strive to maintain good relations with the Employers.
It may be recalled that beginning 2008, under the ASEAN-ILO/Japan Industrial Relations Project, National and Regional Tripartite Seminarson Industrial Relations were organized every year for several years.The Seminars were attended by Employers’ and Workers’ “representatives” from various enterprises both in the public and private sectors.
Asignificant development relating to Industrial Relations in the ASEAN context,was the adoption of the “ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Relations Practices” by the ASEAN Labour Ministers.
As of now,Tripartite Industrial Relations Seminarsbased on the“Settlement of Labour Disputes Law”; other relevant labourlaws and the “ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Relations Practices”should continue tobe organized for representatives of Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations and the Government Organizations concerned to promote harmonious relations between employers and workers for maintaining industrial peace in Myanmar.
Kyaw Win (Labour)