Over 500 workers from 15 different Hlaingtharyar-based factories held a demonstration yesterday to voice their demands for a 10-day Thingyan holiday period next month, reports Kumudra.
“A five-day holiday would make it extremely difficult for workers who have to go home to more distant parts of the country, and this is the only opportunity that [we] have to relax and reunite with our families,” Thuzar Hnin, a worker at the S Square garment factory explained to Kumudra.
Additionally, although some of the plants are technically giving their employees 10 days off, the latter have been told that they will have to work additional days later on in the year in lieu of the five ‘unofficial’ Thingyan holidays.
The protest echoed those of citizens across the country following the government’s recent announcement that next month’s annual 10-day Thingyan holiday period would be reduced to five days starting from this year. Last week, officials stated that civil servants would still be entitled to the full 10-day holiday period, in addition to the five additional public holidays later on in the year.
While select factory owners have given their employees a 10-day holiday period, some of those workers nonetheless participated in yesterday’s rally to show their support.
“Our factory is closed for 10 days, but we’re here to support our fellow workers who don’t have the [five] days off like we do,” said Tin Tin Wai, the chairwoman of the Running Tex garment factory’s labor group, who held their own demonstration last week to demand a 10-day holiday. According to the Myanmar Times, approximately 500 of the factory’s 900 workers marched out last Thursday morning in protest; factory officials announced at 11 am the same day that workers would get 11 days off for Thingyan.