Asian and international labour groups are sounding the alarm over the dreaded deportation of Burmese workers who are working with JVC Manufacturing Malaysia, in Selangor. The 23 women concerned are employed by Fast Link Trans agency. Organisations including the Workers Rights Consortium, the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) and the Burma Campaign Malaysia (BCM) fear that 16 women may be deported at a very short notice, while the permits of another seven women may be terminated in the coming 2-3 months.

The concerned Burmese workers lodged a complaint at the Malaysian Labour Department (Subang Jaya office) on 21 July 2010, demanding the return of monies wrongly deducted from their wages, the payment of overdue wages, and the return of their passports which were held by their employer.

Labour groups argue that the early termination and/or non-renewal by JVC of the one-year contracts of the women concerned can reasonably be seen as a retaliation of the company against workers who are claiming their legal rights. The case of the Burmese women workers at the Labour Department is currently pending. Termination of their contracts and repatriation to Burma will prevent them from pursing their legal claims. JVC and Fast Link Trans are urged to respect due legal process.

The situation of the Burmese women workers at JVC Malaysia does not stand alone. Reportedly, JVC employs approximately 800 migrant workers on a total of 1,200 workers. Migrant workers are recruited from several countries, including Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam and Indonesia. On 25 August, 30 JVC workers from Sri Lanka were summarily dismissed, allegedly in retaliation for their demand to be paid the salary that was promised to them when recruited. So far, eight women of this group were repatriated without receiving any compensation for their untimely dismissal.

GoodElectronics is supportive of the struggle of Asian and international labour groups on behalf of these migrant workers. Indirectly employed migrant women workers have a most precarious position, on the labour market as well as in the host country’s society. As a responsible employer JVC should live up to internationally agreed labour standards and especially protect vulnerable workers.

GoodElectronics has written to JVC to express its concerns about the dreaded deportation of the Burmese women workers.