The German government has provided emergency financial assistance to more than 20,000 garment workers in Laos who have been afflicted by the COVID-19 outbreak totaling more than 18.6 billion kip (about $1.85 million). Each employee has received 900,000 kip (about $85).
The German government gave financial assistance through the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Keo Chanthavoxay, Director General of the Lao Social Security Organisation (SSO), claimed that 20,698 workers from 47 garment manufacturers had received financial assistance. The funds were distributed in a single relief package from March through October of this year.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development funded the project, which received expert assistance from the International Labour Organization (ILO). The funds have aided individuals who have lost their jobs and are assisting businesses in maintaining their operations while lowering employee turnover expenses.
The funds were distributed to both eligible and unqualified garment employees who are not members of the Social Security Organization or who have not paid a monthly payment for more than a year.
Padeumphone Sonthany, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, said that this emergency financing has benefited them by providing the required support to garment workers during this tough period and has supported the SSO payment system.
Graeme Buckley, Director of the ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, said that this initiative has taken place in combination with the existing SSO system and has helped to minimize administrative expenses and accelerate the implementation time. In order to disburse the payments, the SSO used mobile networks to transmit funds to those who do not have a bank account.
The initiative has worked with the Lao Garment Association to improve health and safety conditions in garment factories and the dormitories where workers are housed throughout the ILO Version Zero Fund.
It is also giving Covid-19 preventive tools and cleaning supplies, as well as sponsoring a textile worker quarantine centre.
About 26,000 people work in the garment industry. According to an ILO news statement, it has been heavily struck by the pandemic, with many factories dialing back production, discharging personnel, and in some cases closing their doors.
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