In April of 2015 there occurred a momentous shift in the management perspective of employee support and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
In order to improve on the previous historical dynamics of managing the MYTCL foreign investment in a developing country, it was decide by Beijing Head Office of Wanbao Mining Limited, the governance of MYTCL, that change was not only required to be led by a strong foreign investment partnership within Myanmar, but that MYTCL and MWMCL would need to take the risk of becoming the essential instigators in Myanmar to make a change.
Government salaries follow a significantly different methodology than that of developed countries. They are the foundations of all salaries within the country and their guidance is the template for economic growth. In February and into March of 2015 the employees of MYTCL asked that MYTCL be the change required to move the wage regulations toward a move progressive international scale.
Following the guidance of the Labour Organisation Laws, meetings were held in compliance to the negotiation processes. MYTCL responded that there had been no breach of Myanmar Law, and that further discussions would be considered following labour and mitigation processes.
Nevertheless, internal demonstrations took place under the leadership of the established Copper Mine Basic Labour Organisation (CMBLO) in the form of following the requirements set out in the Labour and Factories Laws, which allowed employees to exercise their labour rights to not work without volunteering on Gazetted Holidays. During the month of April there exist 10 days of such holidays according to law. In April the employees of MYTCL chose to demonstrate these rights.
The complexities of Mine Laws conflict with Labour Law and the Factories Act, and despite the risk that was imposed upon the MYTCL Projects through the act of employees not working in essential areas as required by law, management chose to not take any legal action against the employee ‘movement’. It was decided instead to take a more human approach and resolve the root cause of this action that had never before been experienced in the more than 20 years of operations for the S&K Project.
Within this country of volatile and constant change there is a delicate boundary between reason and law. The choice of the employees was not one of fair and legal action, but more so one that expressed the need regarding a desire for change. MYTCL was caught between the people and the country's legal leadership.
Change was imminent. MYTCL took the opportunity to make it.
With the consent of senior management of MYTCL a 50% salary increase was granted to all employees from Grades 1-9, and a 25% increase to Grades 10 and Casual Labourers. It was determined that further investigations would commence into the economic development of the area to determine if further increases would be awarded to create a sustainable and economically stable environment for the S&K Project.
Despite this exceptional increase, the employees remained obstinate and did not accept the Company’s increase as sufficient. To date there remains open discussions as to the next stages of development that will be accepted by the employee CMBLO.