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Banana Plantation Workers Demand Kachin State Govt Help Them Claim Unpaid Salaries

Banana field workers gathered in front of the Kachin State’s government office for solving their salaries, March 19, 2020, Myitkyina

Laborers on tissue culture banana plantations in Waingmaw Township have asked the Kachin State government to resolve the case of their unpaid salaries as soon as possible.

The employees of Sea Sun Star Co. Ltd went to the government’s offices on March 19 and brought their case forward.

“We haven’t gotten our salaries for more than a month. We have been working in the company for nearly seven months,” Ni Ni Aung, a worker on the plantation, told KNG. “We are really struggling in our daily lives because we haven’t gotten our salaries. We tried to walk out from the company, but the company didn’t allow us to go away. They also posted misinformation about us on their social media page. After that, we were forced to leave the banana farm. We have a problem with them. We are asking that the government solve this problem.”

Kachin State immigration and human resources minister Zaw Win met the workers in his office. Workers said that they want the government to ensure this issue is settled within a week.

“We are not daily wage workers. We have to work block-by-block. We have to work on the farm both in the early morning and at night, so we want to get our salaries. I believe our government will solve this problem,” Min Min, who is also working on a banana farm, told KNG.

Tissue culture banana cultivation started in Kachin State in 2012, and there have been multiple disputes between companies and workers over salaries since that time.

Currently, there are more than 100,000 acres of banana plantations in Waingmaw Township alone. Even though there are more than 30 banana farms in the township, only one company is registered with the Kachin State government.

Despite the prevalence of the agribusiness, the government is still discussing whether to officially allow tissue culture banana cultivation in the state.

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