Call for International Solidarity with the Federation of General Workers Myanmar

Strikes, protests, freedom of association – all of this does not exist anymore in Myanmar. Since the junta grabbed power in this south-east Asian country on February 1, 2021, violence and oppression are a daily occurrence. The working conditions for garment workers – who produce goods for western companies like H&M, Adidas, and Nike – haves become even worse than they already were before the coup. Several unions and NGOs have been criminalised, the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM), whom we have been working with for years, is one of them. In the past, we organised solidarity protests in front of Adidas stores, but also collected donations. Many union members had to flee the country or go into hiding and thus can’t pay membership fees anymore. Despite the hardships the FGWM pays for safe houses for their members in hiding, finances resistance projects, or organises workshops supporting workers to get organised at their workplaces.

In Myanmar, the military wages a brutal war against its own people, but especially against ethnic minorities and anyone opposing them. This is not only happening since the coup in 2021. 

International companies profit from the low production costs in the country, since neither freedom of association, nor paid vacation, or even just a decent living wage exist. Any attempts at enforcing labour rights are violently oppressed.

The FGWM doesn’t just empower (textile) workers under great danger and supports them in organising themselves inside the factories, but is also working against  the military government and their fascist regime, fights for a new constitution and federal democracy, and for the liberation of all political prisoners.

From the start, the FGWM has been part of the protests against the military dictatorship: during the first weeks it was them that organised protests and strikes. A large-scale general strike, in which doctors, bus drivers, and also administrative staff participated, was largely initiated and organised by the workers of sewing factories. Labour rights are inseparable from the current political situation: The military controls virtually all financial traffic within the country, profits from foreign investments, and helps factory managers to crack down on strikes and protests.

Those activities costs money! Money the federation currently does not have. With your contribution you assist the work of the FGWM and therefore directly workers.

The FGWM supports its members, empowers activists through workshops and training, pays for safe-houses and food, as well as leaflets, posters, and banners for political actions. The contributions will not be used to pay some union officials, because the FGWM is an association of (grassroots) unions that are organised primarily by the workers themselves.

Dare to fight – Dare to win!

This is an initiative by the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Hamburg together with the FGWM and individuals organised with other FAU syndicats as well as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).  And is being also supported by Earth Strike UK.