New Delhi – Some garment factories in the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zones in Rangoon have reduced their workforce in the face of declining foreign demand, while laborers are struggling to earn a sufficient income with fewer orders to fill.
A senior staff member from the Myanmar People's Garment Factory in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone (2), from which previously male shirts were manufactured and exported to Hong Kong, Australia and Germany, told Mizzima that because the company no longer has a need to pay staff to work overtime, many employees have resigned – as the base salary is insufficient to meet their needs.
He said, "Outside connection links have slowed, compared with before. Because of a halt in foreign orders, working overtime has also been stopped. We haven't cut labor, but previously we were able to pay for overtime since there were export orders. So, the workers have moved to places where overtime is still available."
The source did not mention how many workers left.
In two garment factories in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone (3), each previously operating with over 200 workers, the labor force has been reduced because of an apparent drop in foreign demand.
"There were over 200 workers. But one employer said they have reduced the number of workers due to the rarity of orders," said a man close to the factories.
At least 200 workers from these two factories were notified they would be laid off and were subsequently released with two weeks advanced salary.
Similarly, although the Yancikyan Garment Factory in Bago had already had to gradually reduce its workforce, rumors are now circulating that the factory has decided to shut its doors altogether – though management was unable to be contacted to confirm or deny the report.
In September of this year the global economy was sent into a tailspin following the collapse of several key financial firms in the United States.
This is but the latest blow to the garment industry, which was hit hard following comprehensive sanctions imposed on business interests in Burma by the United States in 2003, which led to the closing of approximately 100 garment factories across Burma and caused about 60,000 workers to lose their jobs.