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Burma: Regional left support for workers’ struggle

February 13, 2010 -- The statement below has been signed by the Working People’s Association (Indonesia); Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance; the Singapore Democratic Party; the Socialist Party of Malaysia; Socialist Alternative (Australia); Socialist Alliance (Australia); Socialist Worker New Zealand; Young Democrats (Singapore); Partido ng Manggangawa (Philippines); Congress of South African Trade Unions; Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines); World Federation of Trade Unions (Asia Pacific Region); Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (Philippines); Canadian HART; Free Burma Campaign (South Africa).

If your organisation would like to sign this statement, email

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Workers at Burma’s Taiyi shoe factory and Opal 2 garment factory began a strike on February 8, 2010. They are demanding a salary increase, a reduction of working hours and the provision of a clean space for meals.

The strike started in the Mya Fashion garment factory in the No. 3 Factory Zone of Yangon’s Hlaing Thrayar Township.

Now, the workers are being blocked from leaving the factory zone by riot police trucks. At least 50 trucks packed with riot police carrying assault rifles and shields were dispatched. No one has been allowed to enter.

Police are securing roads surrounding the Hlaingtharyar Industrial Zone, about 11km outside the biggest city, Yangon.

Overall, working condition in Burma are worsening. The Burmese military regime is pro-foreign capital and depends on cheap wages and deplorable working conditions to attract foreign investment.

Like other democratic rights in Burma, the rights of workers, such as the freedom to form trade unions, are also being repressed.

The rise of working-class struggle is a good sign for the possibility of fundamental changes in Burma. The rise of working-class struggle should be supported by all peoples’ movements in Burma and internationally. We support the struggle of Burma's working class and demand:

• The workers’ just demands be fulfilled;

• An end to all forms of repression against workers; and

• Full democratic rights for workers, including the right to organise, build independent trade unions and form political parties.

We declare our fullest support for the people of Burma to build a democratic nation. Only with a democratic Burma can prosperity and justice can be achieved.

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