Myanmar - Violence and arrests during strike by workers at Hotel Tharabar Gate

Workers at the Hotel Tharabar Gate, located in the centre of one of the most popular tourist destinations in Myanmar, began a strike on October 12, demanding the reinstatement of 12 workers who had been dismissed on August 24. The dismissed workers included the union chairperson, two union executive officers and seven active union members. Union members have claimed that the dismissals are part of a broader effort to undermine the workers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Hotel and tourism workers led by HLOB, the hotel and tourism workers’ federation, marched through the historical sites of Bagan in support of the striking workers. Management responded by threatening the non-renewal of one-year fixed-term contracts that were due to expire in October. A camp was established at the site of the strike and has been maintained by the striking workers and their supporters.
On 12 December 2018, approximately 100 police, acting on the orders of local authorities, destroyed the solidarity camp. On December 13, the striking workers attempted to march in protest from the Hotel Tharabar Gate to the Mandalay Region Government Office. Armed police dispersed the rally and arrested 13 people, including seven union members.

Conciliation meetings involving local and national government representatives have so far failed to achieve reinstatement of the victimised trade unionists. At these meetings, the government authorities have proven ineffectual in the face of management’s ongoing refusal to respect the workers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

On 10 February 2019, the union held a rally in front of the hotel to demand the reinstatement of dismissed union members and leaders and full respect for trade union rights at the hotel. The IUF submitted a formal complaint against the government in December with the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association.

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