Behind the Scenes: Employee discusses work conditions at MCL cement plant

September 11, 2015

An employee working at Mawlamyine Cement Limited’s (MCL) cement plant in Kawpanaw Village spoke to HURFOM about day-to-day life at the Kyaikmayaw Township plant.

11295830_845393842174499_5066340119406635406_nFactory worker Gon Siri described, “There are a lot of buildings in the place where we work […] There are around 500 or 600 workers per building. Overall there are over 20,000 workers, including Chinese, Thai, Khmer, Karen, Mon and others”.

He continued, “We go to work at 7:20 am and we have to queue in a line. Then they tell us about our working conditions and rules. After this, sometimes they divide our work up between working committees or they give warnings about work safety for those who work upstairs. We rest for lunch at 12 noon, get back to work at 1 pm and leave work at 5 pm.

“Those who have to travel from other villages with a motorbike start at 7 pm. Female workers start at 8 pm. Construction workers sometimes start at 9 or 10 pm. [MCL] provides a meal. The meal time is between 6 and 7 pm.

“For general workers, overtime is paid at 900 Kyat per hour, or 1000 Kyat for those whose work is a little heavier […] [If we work] one day and one night [MCL] count it as three working days. But now they have stopped these kinds of hours because workers became tired, had health problems, and it was dangerous”.

As well as painting a picture of daily life at the plant, Gon Siri highlighted concerns about deductions from workers’ daily wages. According to Gon Siri, workers who are employed by MCL via an intermediary contracting company, as opposed to working directly for MCL, face considerable deductions.

He explained, “Employees who work inside the factory are paid 8000 Kyat per day, but [workers employed through a contractor] are paid 7200 Kyat per day because the contractor takes 800 Kyat from them [each day] […] We are not happy about it. They take 800 Kyat per day. Imagine how much that is in a month, then in a year. They are taking a lot of money from us”.

However, according to Gon Siri, workers in the plant are too afraid of their employers to take action against unfair salary deductions. He concluded, “No one dares to report this matter”.






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