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Govt committee proposes up to $3.50 daily minimum wage

A government-appointed committee has tentatively agreed to set Burma’s minimum daily wage at between 4,000 and 4,800 kyat (US$2.93–$3.50).

The decision was made during the third consultative meeting of the National Minimum Wage Committee on Monday. Committee members, including Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population MP Thein Swe, had consulted both employers’ representatives and workers’ representatives before reaching a decision.

Thein Swe said, “The minimum wage will be set uniformly across all regions and states in the country, with no discrimination regarding the nature of the job.”

However, at least one of the committee members has voiced an opinion saying that he does not belief the figure of 4,000 to 4,800 kyat per day is feasible.

“It is unlikely that the employers will accept this amount,” said Naw Aung, who represented employers at the talks.

Regional and state assemblies will be next up; each should hold a debate on the proposed minimum wage and then report back to the committee.

A final deal is expected in December.

In August 2015, the government announced a minimum wage of 3,600 kyat ($2.80 at that time) for an eight-hour work day, a decision greatly influenced by two years of tense talks between garment factory owners and labor unions.

In the wake of the decision, factory owners threatened to lay off workers rather than pay them the increased rate.