Step taken toward establishment of national minimum wage

A worker at a production line of a garment factory in Hlinethaya Industrial Zone in western part of Myanmar.  Photo:  Aye Min Soe
A worker at a production line of a garment factory in Hlinethaya Industrial Zone in western part of Myanmar. Photo: Aye Min Soe

Yangon, 4 May— The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security will meet owners of garment factories in the near future in Yangon as part of efforts for negotiating the establishment of a national minimum wage.
Nearly all industries except garment factories became hopeful of reaching a compromise solution during recent negotiations between employers and workers in Yangon and upper Myanmar, so the ministry will meet again with garment factories to find a win-win solution between the employers and workers of garment factories, said U Aye Lwin, Joint-Secretary of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
During that meeting, the ministry’s officials and employers will discuss a win-win solution for breaking the deadlock between the employers of the garment factories and workers based on establishing the same minimum wage for garment workers across the country, based on region or state, based on job type or based on working hours, said the UMFCCI’s joint-secretary who also participated in the negotiations in Yangon and upper Myanmar.
The ministry brokering the negotiations between employers and employees for establishment of the minimum wage also has a plan to conduct negotiations comprising all sectors including employers, workers, authorities and representatives from workers’ unions.
The ministry will try to get a proposed figure for the national minimum wage during that meeting and submit it to the parliament for debate and approval, he said, quoting the Union Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security U Aye Myint.
“After the minimum wage is approved by the parliament, both employers and employees must follow it,” U Aye Lwin said.
According to the rules and by-laws of the Minimum Wage Law, the minimum wage level can be amended within two years after its announcement.
Representing the UMFCCI which has brokered the establishment of the minimum wage, Daw Thet Thet Khaing, Joint-Secretary-3 of the UMFCCI, has suggested both sides take locations of factories and job types into consideration when establishing the minimum wage and to focus on reaching a win-win solution between them.
“In fact, a figure is just a figure on paper. Market mechanisms or the labour market will decide the minimum wage,” she said.
Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw Thura U Shwe Mann suggested that both employers and workers on 24 April consider the daily wage level of K3,000 for government employees set by the Ministry of Finance and Revenue as a “standard” for setting the minimum wage level for workers, urging the ministry to complete the task as soon as possible.
The Pyithu Hluttaw enacted the minimum wage law in March 2013, and the government approved the related by-laws in July 2013.—GNLM

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