16 February 2012

TO ALL TAI YI SHOE FACTORY WORKERS AND OTHER WORKERS IN THE HLAING THARAR INDUSTRIAL ZONE IN RANGOON, BURMA

Dear Comrades: The Alliance of Progressive Labor is a national labor center of different types of workers organizations in the private, informal and migrant workers in the Philippines. A heartfelt concern and a deep sense of solidarity to the Burmese workers had dawned on the APL upon being informed of a trailblazing strike early this month in the Hlaing Tharar Industrial Zone in Rangoon, Burma, particularly the workers led by their fledgling union in the Tai Yi Shoe Factory. But we were relieved of all our anxiety after a little more than a week when the exhilarating news broke out that the company owners had agreed to grant the workers pay hikes. It was indeed a big relief in view of the notoriety and omnipotence of the military regime in Myanmar (or Burma) despite the democratic reforms it purportedly carried out since last year to shed its pariah status. We are aware that due to international pressures the Burmese government passed a law last year finally granting the workers the right to form a union and to stage a strike, which repealed the ruthless Trade Unions Act of 1962 that effectively banned trade unionism in the country. But aside from the apparent loopholes, the new law s full and unhampered implementation has not yet been realized. Likewise, old habits die hard. Reports reveal that security forces have increased their presence in industrial zones to, what else, to intimidate even the still young and weak trade unions. In fact, the military rule has remained intact and secured in all aspects of life. However, small victories like in the Tai Yi Shoe Factory will eventually and without doubt grow exponentially as the Burmese workers and citizens become conscious of their right and duty to ensure that justice, freedom and genuine democracy are established throughout Burma just like throughout the world.

Congratulations Tai Yi workers! Heighten the organizing of the Hlaing Thara Industrial Zone workers! Strengthen the Burmese trade union and democracy movement! Workers of the world unite!

ALLIANCE OF PROGRESSIVE LABOR (APL) Quezon City, Philippines
94 Scout Delgado St., Bgy. Laging Handa, 1103 Quezon City, Philippines Tel. No. +63 2 666-3545 / +63 2 473-7320 Telefax +63 2 332-1378 E-mail Address: mail@apl.org.ph Website: www.apl.org.ph

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