Labour Law Reform

Preventing and solving labour disputes through community forums

Labour disputes and strikes are often triggered by the lack of awareness of the law, lack of dialogue between employers and workers or by ambiguous and misleading regulations. Through community forums, the ILO is promoting the prevention and smooth resolution of disputes as a way to strengthen industrial relations and economic growth in Myanmar.

News | 29 July 2018
© Phyo Pyae Sone Lwin / Rule of Law Centers
YANGON (ILO News) - Every day many Myanmar workers and employers are confronted with labour disputes. Many of these, however, could be easily prevented if clearer and less ambiguous rules were in place.

As part of Myanmar democratic transition, the country is undergoing a consistent reform of its labour law system.

Myanmar social partners recognize the need for solid foundations in the laws and regulations governing the labour market.

Legal weaknesses could lead to disputes and strikes, and the legal uncertainty could hamper the growth of businesses and investment.

The ILO, through its Myanmar Labour Market Governance Programme supported by the European Union, has been assisting the Myanmar government, workers’ and employers’ organizations in a joint effort to modernize Myanmar labour laws.

The amendment to the Labour Dispute Settlement Law is currently being discussed at the parliament.

To promote and strengthen the understanding of the current labour disputes settlement mechanism and procedures, the ILO together with the Myanmar Rule of Law Centres (ROLC) have organized community forums on how to prevent and resolve labour disputes.

The first of these forums took place in Mandalay on 13 July 2018, where over 100 participants from the Myanmar Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and civil society had the opportunity to openly discuss how to solve labour disputes under the current Myanmar law. Tripartite panelists, consisting of a labour officers, employer representatives and a trade union representatives, also presented the role of the workplace coordinating committee (WCC), the conciliation and the arbitration bodies.

© Phyo Pyae Sone Lwin / Rule of Law Centers
A second forum took place in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone on 26 July 2018, where numerous cases of labour disputes are regularly recorded.

Among the most frequently recorded cases of disputes, participants to the forums discussed cases of miscalculation of overtime work, unfair dismissal, or failure to enforce minimum wages.

Discussing these issues and learning how to prevent and solve labour disputes through dialogue and negotiation in full respect of the law, is an important way for Myanmar social partners to work together towards a more equitable and just world of work.