Republic of the Union of Myanmar Message of Greetings sent by President U Win Myint On the occasion of Workers’ Day which falls on 1st May 2018

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 Myanmar workers in Myanmar good health and happiness, success in their work, peace in their work places 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 labor standards and ensure that workers are getting the rights and benefits they are entitled to get in accordance with the country’s internal labor laws, rules, regulations and instructions; and 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 labor issues, we are also working on international labor matters in cooperation with the International Labor 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 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 labor 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 Labor Law Reform. At the Third Stakeholder Forum held in January 2018, future work programmes were adopted the work process for labor 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 Labor, Immigration and Population Ministry 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 labor and migration matters. We have established all over the country a total of 83 labor offices to assist in job searches. For those in remote areas we are operating mobile teams for labor 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 Republic of Korea. We have appointed Labor 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,
Labor 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, work days and holidays, work hours, workplace safety, and health. In addition we are conducting educative seminars to promote the awareness of labor laws. We are also working to enact a new law for safety and health of workers at the work site.
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.
The Arbitration committee composed of representatives of employers and employees has been formed to solve the labour disputes. A tripartite group comprising representatives of the government, employers and employees, township arbitration groups, region and state juries and jury council sit down at the negotiation table to solve the labour disputes which cannot be settled by the arbitration committee.
Workers are being provided with social security rights in accordance with the Social Security Law-2012 and efforts are being made to expand coverage of the social security system. As Myanmar became a member of the ASEAN Social Security Association-ASSA and International Social Security Association-ISSA, the Union Government will carry out the good practices of the international social security systems. The Union Government is committed to improvement of the livelihood of workers by managing the social security funds effectively.

Dear esteemed workers,
Due to the increase in awareness about elimination of forced labour, the people and authorities has been getting more understanding about it and the country has seen spirally downward of the rate of forced labour issues which happened due to the condition of our country’s economy. I wish to let all of you know that the elimination of forced labour is in sight. The project for elimination of forced labour-2018 will be implemented in cooperation with the International Labour Organization-ILO. Besides, the Union Government formed the national-level committee on elimination of child labour cases and the committee has been cooperating with the government, employers and civil society organizations.
Today, workers have rights to form of labour organizatins, which have not existed in Myanmar for decades. The workers have been allowed to form labour organizations so that the employers can become responsible businessmen, can acknowledge and respect the basic rights of workers, the workers and labour organizations can become a responsible partner for the government and employers and can build mutual trust and respect to be able to cooperate with each other with the supervision of the government in boosting the production and in development of the country. According to the 2011- Labour Organization Law, there are 2,772 employer and labour organizations representing employers and employees.
In conclusion, I would like to sincerely urge employers and employees nationwide to actively and constructively cooperate with the government and participate in the works undertaken by the State joining hands with the government to overcome the challenges and obstacles as the government has adopted polices and implemented them to promote full labour rights, to create job opportunities, socio-economic development, to promote safety and health care and to expand social security of workers who are the major driving force for the development of the State.

(Unofficial Translation)

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