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Building Solidarity with Burmese workers

Issued on March 30, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Burma Meeting  6 - June Sorensen, responsible for Burma solidarity in the ITUC. Photo: John Chaney
June Sorensen, responsible for Burma solidarity in the ITUC. Photo: John Chaney

IMPACT and PSEU support the Trade Union movement in Burma with €20,000

On the 25th of March ICTU Global Solidarity and Burma Action Ireland co-organised a solidarity meeting with the Trade Unions in Burma. The meeting was held in INTO learning centre in Dublin.

The main speaker was June Sorensen, who is responsible for the Burma solidarity work at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). She informed the meeting about the extreme oppression of workers in Burma, one of the last countries in world where state institutions impose forced labour on the population. But despite the risk of torture and imprisonment, trade unionists operate underground to organise and unite the workers.

June Sorensen emphasised the important recent development where thousands of garment workers in Burma came out on strike to demand a wage increase of $10 a month (!). The response by the government has been repression and the use of riot police.

Strengthen the capacity of FTUB

The Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB) held its first Congress in March last year (in the boarder area in Thailand). FTUB also became an affiliated member of the ITUC. It is of great importance to strengthen the capacity of FTUB's underground trade union work in Burma. That is why ITUC recently established an international solidarity fund for Burma.

At the meeting in Dublin, Bernard Harbor on behalf of IMPACT and Eugene Quinn on behalf of PSEU made a presentation of €10,000 each to the FTUB fund. June Sorensen said that the Irish trade union movement is the first to contribute to this new fund. The money will be used for trade union education and organising inside Burma.

No to sham elections

Mary Montaut spoke on behalf of Burma Action Ireland and she stressed the importance of international solidarity and how much it encourages the people in Burma in their struggle for Democracy. She condemned the up coming sham elections that only will guarantee that the army stays in power and demanded the freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mary Montaut finally introduced the 2010 Oscar nominated documentary film "Burma VJ" which was shown to the participants. This is a film that we can recommend to everyone who wants to know more about the brave people who continue their non violent struggle for democracy and freedom in Burma.

 

Read more about Burma:

1. ITUC's Union View publication (Oct. 2009): "Burma - trade unionists brave the tightrope" - click here

2. ITUC report (Dec. 2009): "Burma's children - a generation sacrificed" - click here

3. ITUC video: Repression in Burma (2007) - click here

4. Trailer documentary film "Burma VJ" - click here

5. Interview with the Director of the film Burma VJ, Anders Ostergaard - click here:

6. Visit Burma Action Ireland's website - click here