President U Win Myint sends message on occasion of Workers’ Day which falls on 1st May 2020
Dear esteemed workers,
Today is Workers’ Day, highly regarded by workers all over the world, as well as by workers in Myanmar as a truly auspicious day. On this historic and significant day I send this Message of Greetings to all workers in Myanmar as well as Myanmar migrant workers abroad good health and happiness, success in their work, peace in their workplaces and development of their socio-economic lives.
In this century, is it an undeniable fact that workers are enjoying rights and benefits more than ever before. However, we also have to accept the fact that there are differences in the rights and benefits enjoyed by workers based on the country’s geographical situation, economy, politics, government and the people.
However this may be, our Union Government has the duty to continuously monitor, assess and take action by taking into consideration international labour standards and ensure that workers are getting the rights and benefits they are entitled to get in accordance with the country’s internal labour laws, rules, regulations and instructions; furthermore to make sure that they will get better benefits and rights, that their socio-economic lives will improve and that their standard of living will be elevated.
While Myanmar is working together with ASEAN countries on regional labour issues, we are also working on international labour matters in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO). We are working to implement the Decent Work Country Programme in Myanmar 2018-2019 and have conducted the National Tripartite Dialogue Forums – NTDFs beginning from 2014. As a result, during the ninth session held in January 2018, we were able to adopt the Decent Work Country Programme in a tripartite manner.
We will be implementing the Decent Work Country Programme to ensure that more decent, sustainable, innovative, economic job opportunities will come within the reach of all those who are able to work; by having better management at the work places, to ensure that the practice of basic rules and benefits becomes stronger; and to ensure that social security coverage is expanded for vulnerable workers and people. We will thus be implementing the Decent Work Country Programme in these three priority areas.
Dear esteemed workers,
In order to develop better job opportunities, the Government, Employers, and Workers need to cooperate in a tripartite manner and this is an important mode of work. I am very pleased and satisfied to note that there have been more tripartite discussions, negotiations and efforts to seek solutions.
In addition, in order to provide better rights and benefits for workers, we are in the process of amending and enacting new labour laws. For the amendment of laws, we are reviewing these laws again to ensure that they based on international standards and are in accordance with the real country situation, only after they have been negotiated and discussed in a tripartite manner. Next, this draft law is circulated and informed to the public to ascertain their views and opinions and submitted to the Hluttaw. We are working according to this process. In collaboration with the ILO and with the assistance of development partners, we have initiated the Stakeholder Forum beginning from 2015 for Labour Law Reform. At the Third Stakeholder Forum held in January 2018, future work programmes were adopted the work process for labour law reform was intensified.
To upgrade the skills of workers and to build up capacity, more technical and vocational schools have been opened. We are also striving to produce ASEAN-level skilled workers. We are allowing the private sector to cooperate with the Union Government to produce more skilled workers. The NSSA – National Skills Standard Authority has been formed on the PPP (Public, Private, Partnership) model with the Labour, Immigration and Population Department taking the lead. We are now working to supervise, manage and establish skills standards according to priority areas; to register and provide accreditation to training departments, assessment and inspection departments including the private sector according to sectors; and to produce systems for inspection and accreditation in accordance with national level skills standard frameworks.
Furthermore, to create job opportunities at home and abroad, we have established policies for labour and migration matters. We have established all over the country a total of 83 labour offices to assist in job searches. For those in remote areas we are operating mobile teams for labour registration for providing service at the ground level; in addition we have organized job fairs for job seekers within the country.
For workers to work in foreign countries and to ensure that they get rights and benefits in accordance with the law, we have signed MOUs relating to migrant workers with the host countries. We are working with them in close consultation. We are working in close cooperation with the IOM – International Organization for Migration, concerned Ministries, NGOs, to ensure that our migrant workers can travel and work free from danger. We are doing this in countries which have a high population of our migrant workers such as Thailand, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea. We have appointed Labour Attaches and they are making sure that our workers are getting the full rights and benefits. We have also opened free training courses for providing assistance and guidance to prospective migrant workers in Yangon and Mandalay. We have opened Migrant Resource Centres in all big cities all over the country. These centres are working in collaboration with relevant organizations to ensure that migrant workers get the information they need.
Dear esteemed workers,
Labour inspection officers are working to make sure that workers who are working in factories, shops and offices are getting benefits and rights in accordance with the law with respect to pay, workdays and holidays, work hours, workplace safety, and health. In addition we are conducting educative seminars to promote the awareness of labour laws. We are also working to enact a new law for safety and health of workers at the worksite.
Furthermore, we are working to review the minimum wage every two years the minimum wage that was fixed in 2015 according to the 2013 Minimum Wage Law. Soon, we will be able to announce a new minimum wage that has been fixed according to the findings of the tripartite committees for fixing minimum wage that have been established in all regions and states including Nay Pyi Taw.
We have given instructions to use the EC – Employment Contract to ensure a peaceful and harmonious workplace, increased production, good employer-employee relations, reduce labour disputes, enjoyment of labour rights and benefits prescribed by law, observance of worksite rules by workers, settlement of labour disputes systematically and quickly without adopting wrong procedures, and a sense of unity and friendship between employers and workers.
In addition, we have enacted the 2012 Law for settlement of labour disputes to ensure that disputes are settled fairly. This is to make sure that rights and benefits enjoyed fairly, correctly and expeditiously. We have also formed the labour coordination committees and for cases where agreement could not be reached, we have formed township committees for settlement of labour disputes composed of representatives from government, employer, and workers. At the region/state level we have formed labour arbitration committees and councils. They are resolving the labour disputes through negotiations, compromise and making judgements.
We are using the newly enacted 2012 Social Security Law to ensure the social security of workers. We are also working to ensure greater social security coverage. Myanmar is now a member of the ASSA – ASEAN Social Security Association and ISSA – International Social Security Association. We will thus be able to get information and keep abreast about social security matters at the regional as well as the international level.
Dear esteemed workers,
In order to improve the social life of workers, let them enjoy more health care benefits, and to increase production to provide a positive impact on the economic development of the country, we have been implementing the 2012 Social Security Law. In this regard, up to January 2020, the number of workers under the Social Security Scheme stands at over 1.46 million. The Social Security Board with the technical assistance of ILO (International Labour Organization) and partner organizations has been implementing a series of reforms in the following areas to ensure that workers can enjoy their benefits effectively and speedily: information technology, health care, administration, and legal.
For workers whose work establishments had to close due to COVID-19 or other impacts, we have made arrangements so that workers who have been contributing to the Social Security Scheme, health care, medical expenses, and travel allowance benefits have been extended for up to one year from the date they lost their jobs. For Myanmar owned CMP factories, hotel and tourism companies and SME’s, Kyats 50 billion from the Social Security Fund has been allocated for the COVID-19 Fund with the approval of the Union Government, to provide low interest loans to the above-mentioned enterprises.
At a time when the State is working for the all-round development of the country with increasing momentum, when the whole country is facing many challenges, especially the present difficulties being faced due to the impact of the COVID-19 disease, all of us, the Government, employers, workers, professionals, civil society organizations, need to work with collective strength, alertness, determination, and wisdom to meet and overcome these challenges. I wish to say that I acknowledge the strong participation of the workers in the people’s efforts to respond to and overcome the dreaded COVID-19 disease.
Dear esteemed workers,
As for the workers, they can now participate freely in labour unions in accordance with the Labour Organizations Law by drawing up constitutions and work plans by themselves. These unions are your unions, your community and established for the benefit of your members. You also need to be especially aware that outside instigations can occur for personal or political gain to incite unlawful demonstrations and unrest.
In a market-oriented economy, just as the strength of the workers is an important factor for the country’s development, employers who create jobs for workers are essential partners for workers. That is why workers and employers can cooperate harmoniously not only for their benefit but also for the benefit of the country. Furthermore, only by creating a community of good human capital characterized by safe and secure work establishments and fully skilled and qualified workers, will we be able to create good and stable conditions for a market economy. Only then will we see strong investments. Only then will be see the emergence of good and sustainable job opportunities; in this way the workers will be able to earn good salaries commensurate with their abilities.
The Union Government will continue to strive hard to make sure that workers can enjoy the fruits of their labour to the fullest, achieve a suitable level of social life without having to worry about their future.
I send this message of greetings with the hope that the workers and employers who are partners in the economic sphere, who mutually benefit each other, would cooperate with the Union Government in harmony to face and overcome the obstacles and difficulties we are facing with unflagging zeal. Let us participate and perform our assigned duties for our country’s development and progress and establishment of a democratic federal union.