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With Launch of Shwe Job App, Education on Factory Workers’ Rights Goes Digital

“Shwe Job”, a smart­phone app which aims to raises aware­ness on the rights of fac­tory workers and promote health and safety in the industrial workplace, was released on International Worker’s Day on May 1.

The app, developed by the EU backed SMART Myanmar and GIZ, con­sists of stories, illustrations and voiceovers designed to raise awareness and knowl­edge of Myanmar’s existing labour laws amongst in­dustrial workers.

The app also includes a salary calculator so that factory workers can understand how their monthly salary is calcu­ated.

“When we started work­ing with Myanmar’s gar­ment workers fewer than 1 percent owned smart phones. Now, over 90 percent do,” said Jacob Clere, SMART Myanmar Team Leader.

“This is an amazing shift in just four years. It is this incredible change that prompted us to create a teaching tool which can make full use of the latest and most relevant tech­nologies.”

Myanmar’s garment sector has been one of the economic success stories of its transition to democracy. The country’s 400 garment factories employ over 400,000 workers, of which 90 percent are women.

But in recent times, the industry has been marred by a series of disputes between factory owners and workers over unpaid wages and poor work­ing conditions, while last year, a Swedish investiga­tion found girls as young as 14 were working in fac­tories producing clothes for H&M.

A recent report by Somo, a human rights watchdog, found workers were actively discouraged from unionizing yet there they had limited avenues for taking grievances or complaints to manage­ment, compounded by the ever present fear of being punished for doing so.

In the face of inflation and the increased price of goods the report found that the daily minimum wage of K3,600 was in­sufficient for day-to-day living, resulting in work­ers spiraling into debt.

SMART Myanmar says that Shwe Job is not meant to be “comprehen­sive or authoritative” but is designed to “teach and increase knowledge” in a format which is approach­able to factory workers.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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