From the TUC

Take action to free imprisoned garment union activists in Burma

09 Oct 2015, By

On 8 November Burma will hold crucial general elections, which makes this is an important time to hold the government to account for the increasing crack down on trade union rights and repression that many workers are facing in the country.

In support of the Amnesty International Urgent Action, this week the TUC General Secretary has written to the Ambassador for Burma to call for the immediate release of four union activists who are currently being held in the notorious Insein prison for supporting garment workers striking for a living wage.

Two of the activists, Naing Zaw Kyi Win and Thu Zaw Kyi Win were arrested after providing support to striking garment workers from factories in Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar Industrial Zone.

Meanwhile two union leaders, Myo Min Min and Naing Htay Lwin, were arrested in February after calling for a $1 a day increase in wages for garment workers.

They were imprisoned under Burma’s penal code Section 505(b) which states that any person who incites the public to commit offences “against the State or the public tranquillity” can be imprisoned for two years. Burma also has a law on Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law which requires protesters to apply for permission to demonstrate and allows the authorities to deny applications which pose a threat to “the security of the State, rule of law, public tranquillity and the existing laws”. These laws have allowed the authorities to clamp down on workers taking strike action and protesting for decent pay and treatment.

This year the ITUC rated Burma one of the worst countries in the world to be a worker due to systematic violations of workers’ rights which includes anti trade union violence and forced labour.

The TUC is calling on the government in Burma to reform its laws and practices to allow full freedom of association and collective bargaining to take place – these are two of the fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organisation to which Burma is bound.

Please support the Amnesty International action to free the garment union activists here