Alerts

China Factory Conditions Exported to Jordan--The Case of the IBGM Sweatshop producing for Foot Locker and QVC

October, 03 2011 Share

 

Young female worker slapped and knocked to the ground for asking to use the bathroom.

 

Respect for fundamental worker rights does not exist at the International Business Garment Manufacturing plant in the Al Hassan Industrial Park in Jordan.  IBGM is also a supplier to the notorious Classic rape factory.  IBGM's parent company-Shenzhen Wanshunhao Industry Company Ltd., is located in Shenzhen, China.

Over 370 Bangladeshi guest workers went out on strike on Saturday, August 20, to protest the harsh and illegal sweatshop conditions.  The strike actually started when Ms. Salma, a Bangladeshi seamstress, sought permission to use the bathroom.  When her Indian supervisor, Mr. Latif, refused, she challenged him, asking why the workers are not free to use the toilet.  Mr. Latif grew furious, grabbing the young woman by her hair while slapping her violently.

Mandatory and excessive production goals are unilaterally set by IBGM management.  Bangladeshi women garment workers are known worldwide to be some of the hardest workers in the world, but even they could not reach the excessive goals.  No matter how hard they worked, the women were constantly cursed and shouted at, and even slapped and punched.  It is also the norm for workers to be kept working extra hours, unpaid, until the excessive production goal is met.  In August, management kicked three workers out of the factory for failing to reach their production goals, leaving them idle in the dorms with no work or money.

IBGM is run like a minimum security prison.  Any worker arriving a few seconds late to his or her shift will be docked a half hour's wages.  For second or third offenses in the month, workers are docked half to three-quarters of their daily wage.

During the holy month of Ramadan, it is the norm for the fasting workers to toil 10 hours a day, but IBGM management demanded the workers stay for 11 hours.

Factory cameras monitor the workers' every move. 

Worker dorms are primitive and infested with bed bugs, which torture the workers at night.  They are often unable to sleep due to the constant and painful bites.

In July and August, when the workers went out on strike, there were serious problems regarding lack of regular access to water both in the factory and in the dorm.  Workers returning to their dorm after a long shift would often be unable to wash due to the lack of water.

Some workers kept tiny refrigerators in their dorm rooms to store some food and cold water.  But even this tiny pleasure has been denied.  All the tiny refrigerators are being removed. 

Incredible as it may sound, IBGM in Al Hassan, Jordan is also on the Jordanian Ministry of Labor's "Golden List," which designates the IBGM sweatshop as one of the best factories in Jordan.

Something is seriously wrong here.  The sweatshop clothing sewn under illegal and harsh conditions at IBGM is being exported to the U.S. duty-free.  This should not be permitted under the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreemetn.

IBGM management must meet in good faith with the striking workers to negotiate a compromise, which will improve factory conditions and return all the workers to their jobs.  If peacefully striking workers are fired, while the management thugs who attacked the workers walk free, we will have no choice but to launch a major campaign requesting the labels pull their work from IBGM. 

 

See "Another Crisis in Jordan: Workers Strike IBGM Factory over Illegal Sweatshop Conditions, Strikers Beaten and Threatened with Forcible Deportation."  August 27, 2011.