On March 1, the chairman and 5 other leaders and members of the union of workers at the Hotel Tharabar Gate in Myanamar’s Bagan Archeological Zone were convicted of attempting to hold a peaceful protest march after police brutally destroyed the union’s solidarity camp last December. The 6 trade unionists were each sentenced to one month’s imprisonment and arrested immediately after the verdict was pronounced, an unmistakable announcement by the authorities that trade union activity in Myanmar is now criminalized.
Union members at the Hotel Tharabar Gate have faced management aggression since they first registered their union in 2015. An initial attempt to dismiss union chairman Ko Nay Myo Win was defeated through collective action. Unions at other hotels in the famous tourist destination banded together to form the area-wide union HLOB, electing Nay Myo Win as chairman. In August last year, management again terminated the union chairman, along with 11 other workers, including two members of the union executive and 7 active union members. HLOB responded with a vigorous protest campaign; beginning in October, union members and their families and supporters continuously maintained a solidarity camp on public space.
Police dispatched by the local authorities brutally destroyed the camp and then forcibly dispersed an attempted protest march to the regional government office, arresting union members and supporters. Now workers are being sent to prison for defending their rights.
CLICK HERE to send a message to the government of Myanmar, demanding the 6 trade unionists be immediately and unconditionally released. Freedom of association is a right, not a crime!
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