Friday, May 15, 2009

Day Laborers Work Overtime on Railway Without Pay

Sittwe (Narinjara): Day laborers have been working overtime on construction of the Ann-Sittwe railway route but have not received compensation for the extra work.

A worker from the construction site said, "We asked for wages from the contractors of the company for overtime, but they denied us the money. We have to work two hours overtime every day but we have not received wages for the overtime."

The Ann-Sittwe railway route is being constructed by companies from Rangoon with local day laborers after the companies got contracts for the work from the military government.

The government authority recently pushed the companies to complete some sections of the railway near Sittwe in a short time, so the companies have forced the day laborers to work overtime.

"We are now working on the construction of the railway route phase between Sittwe and the technical college. The authority wants the route to be completed within the first two weeks of May, so the company used our wage for the two hours extra every day," the worker said.

At the railway construction site there is a work timetable for the day laborers that list the scheduled work day as 7 am to 5 pm every day. However, the workers have been required to work until 7 pm everyday.

"Our wage is only 1500 kyat per day, but we receive only 1400 kyat. 100 kyat is taken by the worker leaders for a worker fund. However, we have not been receiving our wage everyday. Even though we are day laborers, we receive our wages every five days," he said.

According to labor sources the day laborers, most of whom are women, are doing manual tasks at many construction sites, including carrying stone, digging soil, crushing stone, and transporting materials from one site to another.

The high military authority has instructed the companies working on the railway route to finish the work before the rainy season begins this year. Because of this early deadline, the companies have been working laborers overtime to complete the task.

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