Delegation of the European Union to Myanmar

Garment workers receive first payment from EU's Myan Ku emergency cash fund

Yangon, 30/04/2020 - 11:14, UNIQUE ID: 200430_75
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On International Workers Day on 1 May, the EU’s Myan Ku Emergency Cash Fund transfers the first payments to garment workers who have been suspended or terminated due to the impact the COVID-19 crisis has on Myanmar’s garment sector.

“I was terminated from my factory on 7 March. In the past, I was able to provide for my family’s rental costs and food expenditures. Now, I am not sure what we will do,” said Ms. Thuzar Aung, a sewing operator from Bo Ko Lay town, Ayeyarwaddy. She will be among the first recipients of a cash payment of MMK 75,000 from the Myan Ku Fund. Ms Thuzar Aung is one of around 30,000 workers in the apparel industry who have lost their jobs over the past two months because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global markets.

Myan Ku provides direct cash transfers to terminated and laid-off garment workers, to help them through the months of May, June and July. The next few months will be challenging for the country’s garment industry because of canceled, delayed and reduced orders from international buyers.

“We appreciate the support provided by the EU through the Myan Ku programme in these times of hardship for workers. We will also cooperate with the EU to address the issues,” said Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population, U Thein Swe.

“The Myan Ku Emergency Cash Fund is real solidarity from the European Union towards the thousands of workers in Myanmar, and their families, who lost their livelihoods due to COVID-19. Myan Ku will provide quick, easily accessible financial support for the workers,” said EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt. “In a global crisis like this one, it’s always the poor who suffer the most. Around the world, we will all need to improve the safety nets for the most vulnerable, and I am proud the European Union can show its solidarity with this immediate and direct helping hand.”

Workers from six factories that have suspended operations during February and March were included in the first batch of cash transfers. Over the next weeks, Myan Ku is expected to reach around 90,000 workers.

Background:

Factory managers can enroll workers who have recently been terminated or suspended by filling out the Myan Ku online application form here:

https://www.smartmyanmar.org/en/employer-application-for-myan-ku-support-for-workers

Garment factory workers who have been terminated or suspended can also directly apply by calling Myan Ku’s main hotline: 09-750208887 between the hours of 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Myan Ku is a €5 million [7.9 billion MMK] project funded by the European Union.

The Myan Ku Fund provides direct cash transfers to affected garment workers employed in locally-owned, joint venture or foreign owned factories. The payments are disbursed through Wave Money 1) to workers in crisis who are jobless and/or face eviction from their homes; 2) to workers whose contracts were illegally terminated, thereby also countering irresponsible practices, and; 3) to workers of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who agree to retain workers and to provide at least a matching support. Recipients are selected in consultation with trade unions and local civil society organisations. Find details on eligibility criteria here: https://bit.ly/2xkoWwR

Myan Ku is financed through the EU’s Humanitarian Development Peace Nexus Response Mechanism (NRM), managed by UNOPS, and is coordinated by the EU’s SMART Textile & Garments project team and their affiliated partners and associates, especially the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA), the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), the Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD), and several local civil society organizations and NGOs.

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