ILO launches COVID-19 campaign to observe World Day for Safety and Health at Work

In collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, the Ministry of Health and Sports and employers and workers organizations, the International Labour Organization (ILO) today, on the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, launched a nationwide mass media public awareness campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of workers and employers in Myanmar of behavior and measures that can prevent and control COVID-19 infections in the work environment.

Press release | 28 April 2020
YANGON (ILO News):  It is highly fitting to launch the mass media campaign on the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, as workers are at risk on the work floor during the COVID-19 pandemic, said ILO Representative in Myanmar, Mr. Donglin Li. “After the Thingyan break factories and offices intend to re-open. Factory workers often work at close quarters with each other, which increases the probability of becoming infected. Often, they are transported to work in jam packed carries as well. This needs to be addressed.”

The campaign is also timely because the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and the Ministry of Health and Sports are jointly inspecting factories nationwide between April 20 and 30, to assess if they follow the COVID-19 guidelines issued by MoHS. Factories will only re-open if they pass the inspections.

“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on both employers and workers is substantial,” said Mr Donglin Li. “Workers and their representatives are not only worried about health risks on the work floor, they also face socio-economic problems during the pandemic. Temporary closures and permanent shutdowns have caused job losses. The Social Security Board will provide 40% of the last earned salary to workers, for a maximum of 11 days, while factories are awaiting inspection. From an employer’s perspective the crisis is also creating insecurity. Obviously, employers want their businesses to be free of COVID-19, but they also worry about the temporary closures. They are not generating revenue. The Government is addressing these issues in consultation with the Confederation of Trade Unions in Myanmar (CTUM) and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).”

Through billboards, social media posts, printed leaflets and posters the campaign “Together we can prevent COVID-19” will raise awareness of behavior that can protect workers and their families against infection and of the social security options available if they are being laid off. Employers will be informed on the steps they should take to provide a safe working environment for their personnel.

Another key audience for the campaign is migrant workers, explains Mr. Donglin Li, “The remittances of migrant workers have long supported their families and their communities.  Many migrants have now lost their jobs due to the Covid-pandemic and have to return home from neighbouring countries. Through a billboard campaign on the borders and through social media posts we want to stress how they can continue to protect themselves, their families and communities by following the prevention measures including quarantining and physical distancing.”
Singer Mi Sandi also contributes to the campaign. She has written and recorded a song and a videoclip that will be shown on social media and television during the four-week campaign period.

“I’m very happy to contribute in my own way to this important campaign,” she said. “The COVID-19 pandemic touches all our lives. When we go back to work, it needs to be in a safe way. The lyrics of the song address that. I hope my song and the campaign help to keep the virus away from the work floor.”

The campaign is financed through ILO’s Vision Zero Fund, a project that is rooted in the concept that injuries, accidents and diseases at the work place are preventable and that adequate prevention mechanisms should be in place. VZF Myanmar aims to reduce the number of work-related fatalities and accidents and occupational diseases, and support access to mechanisms to adequately compensate victims and their families.

For further information, please contact:

U Htein Linn (National Project Coordinator, ILO-Yangon)
Tel: +95 9 550 5997.
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