EPZ official urges improvements in workers' quality of life

Private sector investment in social infrastructure is needed to raise the quality of life for workers in export processing zones and industrial parks, Tran Cong Khanh, chief of the secretariat of the Export Processing Zone and Industrial Park Authority.
 

Workers sew products at a company in HCM City.
Social infrastructure includes apartment buildings, kindergartens, sport and cultural centres, and general health clinics, he said.

He spoke at a conference on workers' quality of life held by the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies on October 10.

He said the municipal People’s Committee, for example, could hand over public land without taking bids so that land could be freed up for workers' housing.

“Apartment buildings at export processing zones and industrial parks are vital for workers. However, the city has failed to meet the demand,” he said.

Most workers rent rooms built around the zones and parks, but the quality of the rooms is poor, and there are few incentives for landlords to improve them and rent at preferential prices, Khanh said.

The city has 17 export processing zones and industrial parks with 290,000 workers, 70 percent of whom are from provinces.

Besides housing, the city’s workers, including those at EPZs and IPs, have problems finding kindergartens for their children. The city has 18 public kindergartens to serve workers' children.

Workers also have poor access to entertainment and other basic services, he added.

Le Van Thanh, former head of the social and cultural research division at the HCM City Institute for Development Studies, said: “The city will see an increase in the number of workers because it is becoming a large industrial centre in the country.”

Workers’ meals should also follow food safety and hygiene standards and be nutritious.

Social, health and unemployment insurance and other incentives as well as income for workers should also be given more attention. 

Dr Nguyen Ngoc Hai, Director of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Science HCM City, said that enterprises must ensure labour safety in the workplace.

“Good labour safety practices among workers would also help reduce the number of accidents and improve their quality of life," he said.

According to the city's Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, there were 1,267 labour accidents with 1,319 people injured, including 101 deaths last year.

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