By Nyein Nyein
A request for increasing the daily minimum wage to K7,200 has raised the concerns of employers as they will struggle to survive if they have to pay that rate, said Daw Khaing Khaing Nwe, Secretary of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA).
The MGMA held a discussion on the publishing of a position statement on minimum wages with the members of the association on 18 January at the UMFCCI office. It is also conducting a survey so it can propose a new minimum wage rate. “We have not asked for their income statement. But, the minimum rate of K7,200 would be a 50-per cent increase against the existing rate. I think it will cause concern among employers. It will be hard for our factories to survive with that rate,” said Daw Khaing Khaing Nwe.
“The workers are asking for a pay hike due to low rates. In order to fix the daily minimum wage at K7,200, the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) has also forwarded a request to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Therefore, regarding minimum wages, which are set to be revised every two years, a survey is being conducted to adjust the appropriate rate for this year,” said Daw Khaing Khaing Nwe.
“Earlier, we did not have a reasonable rate to be proposed and strong data to give feedback on the set rate. This is the reason we have been preparing for it for four or five months,” said Daw Khaing Khaing Nwe.
The data collected from the questionnaire will provide a strong basis for setting the wages, said U Tun Tun, central executive member of the MGMA.
“We did not refuse to pay the set rate in the previous years. We will just discuss the most appropriate level for minimum wage with employers, workers, and the government,” said U Tun Tun.
The Minimum Wage Act 2013 was instituted on 22 March, 2013. And, the tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee (NMWC) representing employers, employees, and the government was formed on 20 July, 2013. Regardless of work location and job type, the minimum wage was fixed at K3,600 per day for 8 working hours (K450 per hour) on 28 August, 2015, which was applicable for businesses with more than 15 workers. Then, the NMWC was reformed by the Office of the President on 16 February, 2017, and the minimum wage was revised to K4,800 per day for eight working hours (K600 per hour) on 14 May, 2018. The rate did not apply to businesses with less then 10 workers.(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)