ILO project seeks to enhance SMEs’ resilience in COVID-19 hinh anh 1Illustrative photo. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s HCM City branch on May 14 presented masks and hand sanitiser to companies in the wood and support industries.

Over 26,000 masks and 5,400 bottles of hand sanitiser were given to about 50 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This is the first relief effort initiated by the ILO in partnership with the VCCI HCM to enhance the firms’ resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak, which forms part of the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) project.

Safety tops the concerns of firms and workers in the wake of the pandemic, a VCCI survey of more than 700 domestic firms has found. Some 69 percent of the respondents said spending on keeping workplaces safe is likely to expand by 10 – 30 percent in the coming time.

Order cancellations and lack of cash have made it difficult for SMEs to provide their employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser.

The SCORE project will do its best to help the enterprises mitigate risks and resume production, said Stephan Ulrich, SCORE Project Manager and Regional Project Coordinator at the ILO, adding the SMEs’ resilience depends on how they protect their workers.

Occupational health and safety are even more important in the face of the COVID-19. In addition to donations of masks and hand sanitiser, the SCORE will continue providing information on proper preventive measures against the coronavirus to employers and their employees via banners, leaflets, video clips and social media, he said.

Online training courses will also be held to give instructions on how to prevent virus transmission, assess associated risks and restart production, the official added.

The SCORE is a practical training and workplace improvement programme, aiming to increase SMEs’ productivity while promoting respect for workers’ rights. It focuses on SMEs in the wooden furniture industry in HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Long An and Binh Dinh provinces.

A total of 230 companies have so far taken part in the SCORE, benefiting more than 94,000 workers./.