Labor Strikes

   (1974)
   The inefficiencies and corruption of the socialist economy caused inflation and shortages of necessities in the early 1970s, and poor weather conditions in 1974 made shortages of rice still more severe. On May 13, 1974, a strike at a railroad yard near Mandalay broke out; the workers demanded higher rice rations. The strike spread to factories in Mandalay and Meiktila, to oil field workers at Chauk and Yenangyaung (Yaynangyoung), site of the famous 1938 oil field workers' strike against the Burmah Oil Company, and to Arakan (Rakhine) State. By early June, more than 40 factories in Rangoon (Yangon) were closed down. In one incident at the railroad yard in Insein, strikers forced the release of workers arrested by the authorities. When strikers in Rangoon began making political demands, calling for the restoration of parliamentary democracy, the Tatmadaw cracked down. The official casualty figure was 22 dead, but the actual figure may have been in the hundreds. Like the U Thant Incident, the labor strikes were a massive expression of discontent with the Ne Win regime, and anticipated the Democracy Summer of 1988.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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