For the first time in generations workers in Burma are now free to form trade unions. But they are starting from scratch in a country slowly emerging from dictatorship and extreme poverty. They are asking for our help.
(Striking workers at the Sunny clothing factory in Rangoon, June 2012. Photo courtesy of: Min Min Oo / Mizzima)
Since the ban on unions was lifted earlier this year, over 130 new trade unions have applied for registration. From factories to farms, and schools to mines, workers are forming unions across the country. And the Federation of Trade Unions - Burma (FTUB), long dubbed a terrorist organisation by the dictatorship and forced to operate in exile, has finally been allowed to return.
They are confronting a legacy of terrible working conditions in an economy dominated by a military-business cabal. One set of workers recently went on strike seeking to double their wage of 60 cents a day for producing 2000 shoes. In another factory, workers were demanding that the working day be reduced from 14 hours down to 12.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and FTUB are setting up an office in the capital city of Rangoon to help workers across the country meet these massive challenges. They need our support.
Even a small contribution will help the ITUC office provide training for workers, union leaders and staff on:
You can donate online by clicking here or you can make a cheque out to TUC Aid -Burma appeal and post it to TUC Aid, EUIRD, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.
For more information see:
Tim Ryan, Solidarity Center (2 August 2012) In Burma, a Moment in History for Unions
Briefing document (400 words) issued 14 Aug 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21325-f0.cfm
printed 19 May 2013 at 01:37 hrs by 220.127.116.11