EU Myan Ku Fund assistance to factory workers reaches K4 bln

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Garment workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic continue receiving financial assistance through a €5 million K7.9 billion European Union emergency cash fund, “Myan Ku”. Between 1 May and 3 August, halfway through the initiative, “Myan Ku” has distributed emergency cash payments to laid-off and suspended workers, reaching 45,061 payments, equivalent to over K4 billion (or €2.5 million) in total assistance provided so far. “Myan Ku supports us during a time when we really need it so everyone who receives such assistance from the fund will be secure for a while and they will also be happy like me. I also want to get my job back as soon as possible to support my family.” said Ms Shunn Lae Nway, a garment factory quality controller who lost her job in May.
The EU Myan Ku Fund cash transfer programme has been extended until 30 November 2020. Cash transfers will continue to be provided to garment, textile and footwear industry workers who have lost their jobs. Unemployed pregnant workers, migrant workers and workers who are using their unemployment period to enroll in educational and skills training programmes can from now on benefit from this support.
The broadening of the target group will enable that the nutritional needs of unemployed pregnant workers are met. It will specifically help migrant workers and workers facing discrimination in employment to receive essential basic support that could facilitate their return into the workforce. There is a very important gender dimension to Myan Ku. 90% of the jobs created within the garment sector employ women, who often leave quite poor conditions in their home villages behind to come to work in factories where they can earn decent salaries and provide support for their families. This provides them with confidence. An objective of Myan Ku is to safeguard these jobs, so that women who found jobs in this sector can go through this crisis and emerge with their livelihoods intact. In total, 26,578 factory workers from about 230 factories in the garment, textile and footwear industries have been enrolled and supported since the programme started. Cash transfer support has ranged from K35,000 per month to K125,000 per month. Workers who are only employed part-time in the factories and earn less than K100,000 can receive 50% matching assistance from Myan Ku. “The factory I worked for closed without giving any severance compensation to the workers. I then received K125,000 on 15 June from the EU Myan Ku Fund. I could not believe I would receive this financial support… I feel so happy.” said Ms Aye Aye Khine, a sewing operator who lost her job and received no severance pay after her employer went bankrupt and permanently closed in April 2020.—GNLM

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