Oil Field Workers' Strike

Oil Field Workers' Strike
   Sparked by a dispute over holidays between Burmese oil field workers at wells at Chauk and Yenaungyaung (Yaynangyoung) and the British-owned Burmah Oil Company, the strike, which began in January 1938, was organized by local branches of the Dobama Asiayone and soon developed into a movement with strong political and anticolonial overtones. But most of the 12,000 laborers involved were back at work by October 1938, and strike leaders sought to revive the movement by organizing a 400-mile march from the oil fields to Rangoon (Yangon) by way of Magwe (Magway) in the following month. On January 8, 1939, the marchers arrived at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, and their supporters, including workers at the Syriam (Thanlyin) oil refinery, farmers, firemen, bus drivers, as well as members of the Sangha, women's groups, tats, and Rangoon University Students Union, held massive demonstrations, although the authorities thwarted a Dobama-organized general strike. The oil field strike was the beginning of the modern labor movement in Burma, witnessing the establishment of the All Burma Trade Union Congress. Known as the "1300 Revolution" (1938-1939 was the year 1300 in the Burmese Era), it also anticipated the massive prodemocracy demonstrations of 1988, the "1350 Revolution," in which huge crowds of townspeople joined with activists to protest the Ne Win government.
   See also Aung Gyaw, Bo.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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