Disunity is felt within the Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar (AFFM), however they announced last Monday, October 8th that they are an independent organization. “Actually, all federations are independent organizations. This statement was released because there is some disunity within our organization, which is the first time this has happened. We also wanted to clear up any possible misunderstandings, AFFM is an independent organization,” said AFFM’s secretary Ko Yay Aye.
The Federation of Trade Union-Burma (FTUB) helped AFFM to become internationally recognized. Despite this, AFFM will not become a member of FTUB because they don’t want to be under their control.
“It means AFFM is not under the control of any other organizations. We created it independently and we have registered it accordingly based on democratic government law. As an independent organization, we can connect directly with international organizations. We want to publicly announce this today,” said Ko Yay Aye.
AFFM is, however, a member of the International Union of Food (IUF). Becoming a member meant that they had to pay a membership fee but also means workers are taught technological skills and will have protection from labor related injuries (compensation and paid time off). AFFM is also required to be active in all IUF activities.
AFFM wants to become a countrywide federation and join the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). If AFFM joins with ITUC they can work together with the government and international business owners.
AFFM was founded on the 26th of August 2011 by farmers and agricultural workers from Karen State, Pago Division, Yangon Division, Irrawaddy division, Magway Division, Mandalay Division and Kachin State. They plan to spread their federation to the rest of the states and divisions in the country.