When the military seized power through a coup in Burma/Myanmar two months ago, health care workers were among the first to go on strike. Now workers across sectors, including public services and public administration, have joined them in a civil disobedience movement. CUPE is supporting the striking workers through a strike fund organized by Public Services International and other global unions.
The union movement, including the national Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar, has coordinated a national strike that closed public transport, mines, factories and government offices. Students, farmers, workers and members of civil society are demonstrating in the streets, showing the world that the country is united against the military regime.
The military has responded with lethal violence. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), 570 protesters have been murdered. More than 2,700 people, including trade unionists, have been arrested. Yet, workers continue to resist the military regime.
The people of Burma/Myanmar are courageously demonstrating that trade unions and collective power are critical in defending and advancing democracy. The strike fund will support health care workers, as well as workers in local governments and other public services. These workers have no strike pay and face significant security risks.
CUPE condemns the coup, and we are concerned about the safety and security of our friends in the country. The international community must continue to exert pressure on the military to end the state of emergency, immediately release all political prisoners, respect the Burmese people’s right to choose their leaders, and remove limits on freedom of expression, assembly, and association.