A law to govern foreign labour is now being drafted because Myanmar has no clear policies to manage foreign workers, said Mayo Aung, chief director of Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.
“We are beginning to draft a law for foreign labour in order to impose a proper policy on foreign labour. It is difficult to control them since the conditions in their countries and Myanmar are different,” Mao Aung said, explaining that foreigners workingin Myanmar are doing so with the permission of the Myanmar Investment Commission.
Officially, their numbers are in the thousands, according to the ministry. An academic who has studied working conditions at the Shwe Gas Pipeline Project said that although he supported a new law for foreign workers, protection of domestic workers needed to be beefed up.
“The new local labour law has weaknesses that cause problems between employers and employees, which lead to workers’ strikes,” he said.
“Economic zones are required to hire at least 25 percent local workers but the law is not practiced. These stipulations need to be checked thoroughly.
Even though Myanmar has an insufficient number of skilled workers. it is not proper that basic tasks, such as driving, are given to Chinese,” he added. He also said that foreign workers were being employed for jobs that Myanmar workers could do, and that they were receiving better compensation and perks than their local counterparts.