The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) launches 4 new products to support the sustainable and inclusive development of the industry

The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers association (MGMA) launched two new tools aiming at improving the labour compliance among the organization’s members and facilitate their development of healthy induction practices for new workers. In addition, MGMA also released the results of two new studies focussing on absenteeism and turn over in the industry as well as the impact of automation and digitization in the sector.

News | 21 February 2020
On 17 February 2020, the four products are the results of the cooperation between the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) and the ILO Garment Industry Project (ILO-GIP) and MGMA. The event, which took place at the UMFCCI building in Yangon, was attended by about 70 garment factories, MGMA executive committee members, industry stakeholders, garment brands and donors.

Daw Khine Khine Nwe, Secretary General of the MGMA, open the event, emphasizing, “it is the role of MGMA, as a mature business association, to provide leadership and guidance to our members and accompany each of them in this ‘compliance journey”. She added, that “the labour compliance tool supports MGMA’s Code of Conduct design to enhance the industry’s understanding of our responsible corporate behaviour.” She also expressed her appreciation of the support provided by the ILO ACT/EMP and ILO-Yangon office through through its Garment Industry Project.

Mr Donglin Li, ILO Liaison Officer in Yangon, explained, “the tools will help garment factories to develop strong induction programme for workers and guide factories toward an always greater compliance with Myanmar labour laws and international labour standards, which will practically support the desire of MGMA and its members in their quest to ascertain Myanmar as an ethical sourcing destination.”

The conclusions and many recommendations included in the two researches are meant to feed into the continued dialogue the industry stakeholders are engaged in, to ensure that the sector remains the engine of the country’s sustainable and inclusive development. “Both researches points out to concrete actions to be taken by factories and their bipartite workplace coordinating committees and trade union representatives, industry bodies, government and brands that can address the current and future challenges of the industry” pointed out Catherine Vaillancourt-Laflamme, the Chief Technical Advisor for the ILO-GIP. She continued: “The reports highlights the critical role of supervisors in the factories and the need for continued skills development, specially the development of young women workers’ ability to operate increasingly complex and automated machines”.

The MGMA is the main forum and business services organization supporting the garment industry in Myanmar. According to official MGMA data, there are currently more than 500 factories providing jobs to more than half a million workers, the overwhelming majority of which are young women. The garment industry is the fastest growing economic sector with the highest formal job creation rate in the country. MGMA forecasts that the sector could soon provide employment to 1.5 million people, generating exports valued at US$ 8-10 billion in aggregate. The garment sector currently plays a pivotal role in Myanmar’s economic growth and quest for economic and social development through decent work.