Government plans housing for 16,000 factory workers

The government is planning a housing rental project for 16,000 factory workers from Hlaing Tharyar and Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zones, according to Daw Win Maw Tun, deputy minister for labour, in the first such move to support the private sector.

The housing will be dormitory-style for single men and women, with the intention to extend the project to other industrial zones in Yangon and other regions.

“In Yangon, there are three difficulties for livelihood – clothing, food and accommodation.

Workers can easily afford clothing and food but they have more problems with accommodation. That’s why we planned this project,” the deputy minister said.

Up to 10 workers will share each room at a cost of K10,000 to K16,000 a month, said U Nay Myo Win, director of planning and research for the Social Security Board (SSB).

Only workers with social security insurance from the SSB can take up the housing offer. The 16,000 make up 10 percent of workers with SSB insurance in the two industrial zones.

President U Thein Sein gave the go-ahead for the project in early May and the labour ministry is waiting for land-use permission from the Yangon Region government, the deputy minister said.

Accommodation will be leased to employers, who in turn will rent rooms to their workers.

“The ministry can’t do detailed management like cleaning and security because of a lack of personnel. So employers have to take responsibility for management,” U Nay Myo Win said.

The ministry has two blueprints for the project. Workers will be allocated 60 to 80 square feet each. The total cost is estimated at K26 billion to K27 billion, to be met by SSB funds.

Businesses welcomed the project at a launch ceremony on June 7.

“We really appreciate the building of housing estates. But if they are far from the workplaces, it won’t be very convenient. The workers will have to go back home instead of working overtime for the extra money. If they can work overtime, our business will also grow,” said U Myat Thin Aung, president of Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone.

Workers at the launch were also positive but said they expected problems.

“There are so many workers but a supply of rooms only for 16,000 so there will be a big rush,” said Ko Thant Zin Oo, a shoe factory worker.

Ma Aye Aye Phyo, a garment worker from the Shwe Pyi Thar zone, said, “Even if the government makes accommodation for workers, it is likely we will have to rent from the employers. Then if we lose our jobs, we will also lose the place to stay.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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