Since the military coup that took place in Myanmar in February of this year, the workers’ movement in that country has been leading a fight for democracy.
The trade union movement in Myanmar has burgeoned since 2011, when the semi-military government first relaxed anti-trade union laws. The result has been a decade of strikes and organisation, centred in the garment factories of Yangon. Now, those organisations are fighting to end the coup government. At our summer school, Ideas for Freedom, 10-11 July, Myanmar trade union leaders Khaing Zar Aung and Moe Sandar Myint reported on the movement’s situation.
Since May, repression against trade union activists in Myanmar has become extremely intense. In the industrial districts of Yangon, many trade unionists have been forced into hiding. Being a trade union militant in Myanmar is now extremely dangerous.
The trade unions of Myanmar are now demanding that international firms break off all economic contact with the country, in order to put maximum pressure on the Tatmadaw military regime. This means western garment companies should stop placing orders with factories in Myanmar.
In the first two weeks of August, the Labour left network Momentum Internationalists will start holding street actions aimed at raising public awareness of these demands and increasing pressure on clothing companies and other chains to support this call from the Myanmar trade unions. We will also be supporting a fundraising drive: here.