Labour rights in Myanmar garment industry (2018, February 21)


The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garment and Textiles, Modint, Inretail and VGT have the pleasure to invite you for a workshop on labour rights in the export-oriented garment industry in Myanmar, on 21 February 2018, in Zeist.

The workshop will be kicked off with short presentations by Modint, SOMO and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile providing some background to the social, economic and political developments in Myanmar and on conducting due diligence in the Myanmar-context.

Two Myanmar labour rights experts – Mr. Thurein Aung of Action Labor Rights (ALR) and Ms. Myo Myo Aye of Solidarity for Trade Union Myanmar (STUM) will report on current labour rights concerns in the garment industry with a special focus on freedom of association and the role of labour groups and civil society organisations.

This workshop will provide up-to-date information about the situation in factories that produce for Western brands and retailers. We will look into obstacles to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We will look into the role of sourcing companies in ensuring workers may fully enjoy their right to organise and bargain collectively.



The garment industry in Myanmar has seen considerable growth over the past years, prompted by the opening up of the country to western investors and markets, and the increasing factory wages in Southern China. This growth brings needed employment to Myanmar’s population, especially in Yangon and Bago, two emerging hubs. But, this manufacturing industry also has his downsides.

In February 2017, SOMO together with Myanmar labour rights organisations Action Labor Rights and Labour Rights Defenders and Promoters (LRDP) published a report on the Myanmar garment industry. ‘The Myanmar Dilemma’ describes a series of labour rights and human rights issues in this industry, including very low wages, unlawful wage deductions, very long working days, unpaid and forced overtime, abuse of apprentices to avoid paying the legal minimum wage, child labour, unhealthy and unsafe working conditions and anti-union practices.

These issues need to be addressed urgently. European garment brands and retailers that are sourcing from Myanmar, or have plans to do so, have a responsibility to look into and tackle such concerns.


Please note the workshop will be held in English with Burmese translation.


Date:                            Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Time:                            10am – 1pm, followed by lunch

Location:                      Modint, Arnhemse Bovenweg? 100, Zeist


More information:  please contact Eva Mulder.


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