Khaing Zar Aung receives Arthur Svensson Prize for trade union rights

Khaing Zar Aung, president of the Industrial Workers' Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) and treasurer of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), has been awarded the esteemed Arthur Svensson Prize for Trade Union Rights. This accolade stands as a testament to her unwavering commitment to advancing labour rights and democracy in the face of formidable challenges.

The 12 million-strong Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) stands in solidarity with Myanmar's trade unionists and working people in applauding this significant recognition. Throughout the military regime's oppressive three-year rule, Myanmar’s trade unionists and working people have courageously fought waves of violence, arrests, and casualties, with workers often bearing the brunt of the repression. Despite these adversities, the Myanmar labour movement has emerged as a powerful force, leading protests and forming alliances with diverse groups united in their call for an end to military rule and supported the National Unity Government (NUG) to restore democratic governance.

The struggle for democracy among Myanmar's trade unionists transcends mere workplace issues; it embodies a broader fight for freedom, dignity, and fundamental human rights. Trade unions have served as crucial pillars of resistance against authoritarianism, amplifying the voices of the marginalised and disenfranchised. Despite facing relentless persecution, trade unionists have remained resolute in their pursuit of a democratic society where the rule of law prevails, and the rights of all citizens, including workers, are respected and upheld. Their relentless activism and steadfast determination serve as an inspiration to people around the world who continue to stand in solidarity with Myanmar's courageous labor movement.

The Arthur Svensson Prize committee's decision to honor Khaing Zar Aung underscores the role of trade unionists and workers in general under the banner of CTUM and its federations affiliated to various global union feferations as a symbol of sacrifice and unwavering dedication in the pursuit of social justice. Through this prestigious award, it shines a spotlight on the ongoing struggle for democracy and labour rights in Myanmar, highlighting the indispensable role played by the trade union movement.