State Counsellor discusses COVID-19 situation with representatives from labour and industry
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as the Chairperson of the National Central Committee for COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment, held a video conference with representatives of the industrial sector and labour affairs from the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
After words of greeting from the State Counsellor, General Secretary of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers’ Association Daw Khine Khine Nwe discussed about affairs of employers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis, skill promotion of workers, the need for enforcement of rules on COVID-19 measures and the need to take legal actions.
U Pyi Thit Nyunt Wai (a) U Maung Maung, Chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Myanmar, discussed about health awareness campaigns for COVID-19, difficulties and socio-economic problems during the pandemic, and the need to provide support and assistance for workers who are suffering from job loss, temporary closures, and permanent shut downs.
U Myo Aung, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, talked about the tripartite discussions among employers, employees and the government to solve problems; measures undertaken to ensure that the directions and instructions issued by the National Central Committee for COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment and the Ministry of Health and Sports are being followed by the factories, workplaces and work establishments; and the work being done by joint inspection teams.
In her response the State Counsellor said she would make sure that orders and instructions are specific and clear; that rule of law was important; that the purpose of law was to ensure peace, stability and development of society; the need to understand that workers and employers need to join hands for the development of the country and society; that legal action would be taken against those who breached the law; that such measures are taken for the benefit of workers and employers and to ensure a safe environment; the need to strictly abide by the law; that the country would achieve economic progress only if the government, employers and workers cooperate among themselves; the need to create a favourable investment climate environment to attract investors; that foreign investors need to be beneficial for the country; that investors who would work for mutual benefit were welcome; that employers who took care of the physical, mental and security needs of the workers were needed; and that the government, employers and workers need to work in unity for the interest of the country, the people and the workers.
She added that after immediate investigations had been taken, actions would be taken against factories which were not following COVID-19 rules, regulations and directives in accordance with the law; that certificates need to be issued after conducting inspection processes relating to COVID-19; the need to inspect more than once to ensure that the factories could operate normally until the pandemic is under control; that the health of the people was the health of the country; that the whole problem needed to be looked in a holistic manner; that the capacity and skills of the workers and the people need to be uplifted; and also that everyone should put in collaborative efforts till normalcy is reached once again.
She added that different factories have different situations; that during the inspection process certain reasonable and acceptable situations should be permitted; that health education awareness should be conducted for workers; and that workers need to strictly abide by the directives and rules. She then explained the measures to be undertaken by the Union Government to fulfill the needs of the workers.
In her concluding remarks, the State Counsellor said that if one looked only at the national interest, there should not be any difference of opinions among the workers, employers and the government; that all three should have a common goal; and that if all were working for the country’s development and progress, and sustainable development, there need not be any disunity among themselves; that if there were any problems, these should be overcome; all three parties should realize that they were the people; that she had already noted down carefully all the requirements presented at this event; matters which can be resolved immediately would be resolved immediately; those matters that need more time to resolve would obviously take more time, and for this patience is requested.
She said, at this moment, it was already one month from the date the first case of the COVID-19 disease was first discovered; everyone knew that the highest number of cases were in Yangon; that they had to especially worry about those returnees from the border and that the government had already made arrangements for them; the workers as a community should also help them; those returnees should first of all focus on their health. She added that it was necessary for all to consider how to see to the needs of their livelihoods, how to build up their capacity and skills and their long-term development.
She concluded by expressing the hope that the collaborative procedures and practices achieved during the COVID-19 period could be maintained for the post COVID-19 period as well.
The session ended with an expression of thanks by the State Counsellor.