56 factories completely shut down in 7 months amid COVID-19 crisis

2 Sep

A total of 173 factories were hit hard by the coronavirus impacts in the past seven months (1 January and 31 July), including the closure of 56 factories and workplaces, temporary closure and layoffs, said Daw Moe Moe Su Kyi, Regional Minister for Immigration and Human Resources.

She responded to the queries raised by Daw Aye Aye Mar of Lanmadaw constituency, at the twelfth regular session of the Second Yangon Region Hluttaw held on 31 August. Daw Aye Aye Mar asked whether the factories that were closed during the pandemic are in line with past commitments during its establishment. She also questioned the number of factories shut down, the reason for the closure and further plans.

Those 173 factories have over 42,000 workers, and some of them are applying for new jobs posted by the Department of Labour, she continued.

According to section 8 (1) of Factories Act 1951, the employer must report to the Factory and General Labour Laws Inspection Department at least 15 days before the starting operation. The existing law of the Department of Labour does not embody the commitments regarding the starting operations. However, during the start-up of factories and employment, the employers and workers must sign employment contract outlining 21 facts issued by the Department of Labour and have to send the EC (employment contract between employer and employee) with commitments to the relevant township offices. Workplace Coordinating Committee (WCC) that includes balanced ratios between the workers and employer representatives are also to be formed. Besides 21 facts, mutual agreements between the employers and workers are also to be committed under the EC.

Additionally, the Department has dealt with the labour rights of those workers affected by 173 factories. Regarding payment for business shutdown allowances, if the workers file complaints to the relevant township Department of Labour Relations in Yangon Region, the related township department officials will inspect and resolute the disputes under the Settlement of Labour Dispute Law and Rules (2012)
The employment termination and redundancy pay are settled as per the Notification No. (84/2015) released on 3 July 2015, under the Employment and Skill Development Law. The employment termination must be notified of the workers of one month in advance. If the employers failed to give one-month notice, one-month salary is added to the payment, she said.

When the workers want employment status rather than compensation for the closure of factories and called for more beyond the Notification No (84/2015), those files are sent to Yangon Region Arbitration Tribunal, and they are settled in accord with the existing law.

If the workers or employers are not satisfied with the arbitration, they can send further complaints to the Arbitration Council within seven days of arbitration. The disputes are inspected and settled again. The Department of Labour Relations of Yangon Region tackled with payment in line with the Notification as mentioned above. Yangon Region Investment Committee also issues notifications regarding job opportunities of domestic and foreign enterprises through notice boards and MRTV, after the committee holds bi-monthly meeting related to the endorsement of the investment proposals. Additionally, labour registration cards can be processed within one day for the citizens, Yangon regional minister added.

By Nyein Nyein (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)