By  on October 27, 2015

YANGON, Myanmar — Just a month after the government enacted its first minimum wage, Myanmar’s emergent apparel sector is exhibiting the growing pains of an industry seeking to formalize.

Before the daily minimum wage of 3,600 kyat — roughly $2.80 at the current exchange rate — was implemented on Sept. 1, thousands of workers rallied for a higher salary at factories around Yangon’s industrial zones. According to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association, monthly wages for sewing operators ranged from $40 to $60, and the government’s decision on 3,600 kyat a day would total roughly $67 a month for a six-day week. This fell short of what unions were demanding, while manufacturers argued that it would lead to mass closures and firings.

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