Myanmar’s Transport Workers Getting Organised
As part of Myanmar transition from decades of military rule workers were granted the right to form unions in 2011. Workers in the transport sector such as tri-shaw drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers and taxi drivers have embraced the opportunity to collectively advocate for better work conditions and pay, however many of their leaders are young and have limited knowledge about how to effectively manage a union and advocate on behalf of workers. UnionAID is partnering with labour rights NGO Action Labour Rights and the Basic Transport Workers Union to provide training to 250 leaders and rank and file members in the transport sector.
This programme will consist of 10 training sessions over 10 months with a focus on educating the members about the role and functions of trade unions, including how to run transparent and democratic elections for leaders. Many workers are unaware of their right to access social security schemes such as health insurance and pensions or do not know how to navigate the sometimes difficult enrolment process. The training will educate the workers on how to enrol themselves and their families in these schemes, providing them with greater protection from poverty and hardship in the future.
Finally, by bringing together workers and leaders from the various transport occupations it hopes to build co-operation between the workers and various unions so they can collectively advocate for better conditions, safer driving and decent incomes in the future.
(Photo courtesy of Destination Asia)