Myanmar’s National Committee for the Minimum Wage recently set the country’s daily minimum wage at K4800 ($3.60) for an eight-hour work day despite objections from both workers and employers. The new wage, however, will not affect enterprises that employ 10 people or fewer, according to U Thein Swe, minister of labour, immigration and population.
The earlier minimum wage of K3600 was set in September 2015. The committee first proposed the new minimum wage on January 2, with both workers and businessmen rejecting the proposal, according to a report in an English-language newspaper in Myanmar.
Employers cautioned that a K4800 basic wage will force small and medium industries to close. Workers said the amount would not be enough to sustain families amid rising prices of basic commodities. They demand the minimum wage to be at least K5600.
Despite the increase, Myanmar remains the lowest compared to the minimum wages of other countries in Southeast Asia, even falling behind Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
The government should improve the infrastructure, facilitate loans for the upgrade of machines, reduce red tape and provide training for workers to increase productivity, U Myint Soe, chair of the Myanmar Garments Manufacturers Association (MGMA), said.