Australian unionists gather online in solidarity with Myanmar
On the Global Day of Action for Myanmar on September 15, unionists across the country tuned in to our webinar with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to learn more about the ongoing situation in Myanmar.
Since a military junta ousted the democratically-elected National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar in February this year, workers and trade unionists have been at the frontlines of the resistance against the violent regime. From the forefront of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), they have fought to defend worker and human rights and called for international solidarity in their struggle to restore peace and democracy in their country.
On the Global Day of Action for Myanmar on September 15, unionists across Australia answered their call. Nearly 80 people logged onto Myanmar: international solidarity in the fight for democracy, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA’s joint webinar with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to learn more about the struggle of workers in Myanmar and learn what our movement can do to support them.
After a strong message of solidarity from ACTU President Michele O’Neil and greetings from Maung Maung, the President of the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), webinar attendees heard from APHEDA’s Myanmar Country Manager, Wulan Dari, who presented sobering facts about the situation on the ground in Myanmar. She explained that nearly 150,000 university and basic education teachers so far have been indefinitely suspended from work for participating in the CDM, and that trade unionists are currently facing up to 3 years’ imprisonment for taking part in the movement. Alarmingly, Wulan noted, imprisoned trade unionists are struggling to access legal services, and the whereabouts of at least 9 of those arrested are unknown.
Learn more: View our infographic on worker’s rights and the ready-made garment sector under martial law in Myanmar
The next speaker, Dr Tun-Aung Shwe from the CRPH / NUG Support Group – Australia, also sounded the alarm about the escalating struggle for workers in Myanmar. Calling for global solidarity in the push for sanctions on the military junta, Dr Shwe also pointed to the Myanmar diaspora community in Australia as an example of groups working tirelessly to address the situation. He urged all those on the call to work with the Myanmar diaspora community in urging the Australian government to cut diplomacy ties and revenue flow to the junta, and to call attention to the ongoing conflict.
Following the inspiring and informative speeches, webinar attendees were invited to ask questions and discuss practical steps Australian unionists can take to support the fight for peace and democracy in Myanmar. As the struggle continues, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA stands in solidarity with all workers and trade unionists in Myanmar, as we have done for over 25 years.
Join the movement of #Workers4Myanmar and support unions and organisations on the Thai-Myanmar border by donating to our Myanmar appeal.