Myanmar panel proposes minimum wage of K3600

26 Jun '15
3 min read

A national committee has proposed a nationwide minimum daily wage of 3600 kyat ($3.20) for all workers at the conclusion of a year of often heated debate between the Myanmar government, employers and labour representatives, the country’s media has reported.

A union representative and a Kayin state labour ministry official, both members of the national minimum wage committee, disclosed the figure to a leading Myanmar newspaper on the final day of a closed-door meeting in Yangon that appeared to deal a blow in particular to the garment industry.

Labour minister and committee chair U Aye Myint declined to confirm the amount. He told the newspaper that the minimum wage might be set between K3200 and K4000 and that the exact figure would be officially announced over the next few days.

“It is sure that the minimum wage cannot be less than K3000, even if we can’t say how much it is fixed exactly at this moment,” he told a press conference after the meeting. Ahead of the closed-door meeting Myint had promised to determine a proposed minimum wage for garment factory workers by the end of this month, despite strong opposition from employers.

Two months of consultations will be held after the proposal is officially announced, and before the issue goes to parliament for a final decision.

The committee made its decision on June 24 after a two-day workshop that brought together the labour ministry, employers and trade union representatives organised by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce (UMFCCI).

The committee, formed a year ago, includes the labour ministry, the national planning and social welfare departments, officials from states and regions, and labour and employer representatives.

Most committee members were said to be in favour of a proposed minimum wage of K3600 as a basis for the whole country. A day earlier, labour representatives had argued for K4000.

But the meeting was unable to reach a decision until the evening as representatives of the garment industry were insisting on a lower amount.

“The garment representatives made strong arguments on wages. They had been demanding wages as low as K2500,” said U Naw Aung, a labour delegate on the committee.

He said workers’ representatives appreciated that the committee agreed on a proposed K3600, even if it was less than they had pushed for, because there was an urgent need to settle the issue. Unions would now have a minimum wage on which to base proposed adjustments, he added. (SH)

Fibre2fashion News Desk – India

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