Day labourers at MCL, laid off and won’t receive any compensation

July 22, 2020

HURFOM On July 15, 2020, Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL) located in Pyar Taung Region, Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon State suspended its operations, resulting in more than a  thousand workers losing their jobs.  According to the workers, they were  forced to sign a document acknowledging they would not receive any compensation.

A month before the factory was to  shut down operations we were told that we won’t receive any compensation when the factory is closed. We had to sign a document to show we agreed to the terms. If not, we can work again at the factory (when it operates). We’re day laborers so getting a job is our first priority. Anyhow, we signed the agreement,” said one impacted day labourer.

More than a thousand day workers have lost their jobs and they do not know when the factory will continue operations. 

The day laborers are contracted to work at MCL through local employment agencies,  and recieve 9,000 Kyat/day. However, these workers do not have any  formal employment contract between the company or the agencies. According to the impacted workers, other than their daily wages, they have no other benefits or social welfare assistance. 

MCL indicated  they were not responsible for the loss of  work for day labourers,  and the employment agencies have refused to address the layoff notice or lack of employment protections. 

We’re day labourers so we don’t have any opportunity. We have to suffer everything. There isn’t any hope even our lives are in danger. The employment agencies forced us to sign the agreement. Because if the MCL doesn’t pay the compensation, the agencies can do nothing. They’re just agencies. That’s why they forced us to sign the agreement (in order to avoid responsibility),” said another affected labourer.

By contrast permanent staff with MCL continue to get their salary regularly during the layoff period. 

We aren’t like day laborers. Even though the factory is closed, we’ve got a salary. But we have to come to the factory everyday. We have to renew our contract biyearly. We also get other kinds of opportunities,” said a permanent staff of MCL. 

The closure of the factory has made the situation for day labourers more difficult on top of the restrictive measures in place to address Covid-19.

The company just said they’ve suspended the factory. We, the poor, are in huge trouble. It’s impossible to find another job during COVID-19. We’ve been struggling to support our family with our daily income. Now, we’ve lost our job so it’s real in trouble,” said a laborer.

MCL has shut down its  stone mining operations on June 1, 2020 and on July 15, totally shut down production due to lack of the main raw material, limestone.

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