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NLC's Response to Recent Jordanian Ministry of Labor Report on The Musa Factory

August, 13 2009 Share

August 13, 2009

The Jordanian MOL alleges:

  • Foreign guest worker passports were never confiscated at the Musa factory.
  • There was no forced overtime and Musa workers were not obligated to work on their weekly day off or on national holidays.
  • Musa's dorms met "acceptable standards" in Jordan, although "sanitation needs some improvement."

Over the course of several months the NLC has interviewed—in person, through other trusted parties and by phone—many more Musa garment workers than has the Jordanian Ministry of Labor.   Also, our interviews are conducted in safe locations where the workers are free to speak the truth.  The workers confirm that they were stripped of their passports, which were confiscated by Musa factory management.  Such human trafficking is an extremely serious international human rights violation.

Musa workers report that up through November 2008—before the worldwide recession led to a precipitous fall in global apparel sales—all overtime was obligatory and they worked 12 ½ to 13 ½ hours a day.  Work on Fridays—their weekly day off—and on national holidays was also mandatory.

The primitive and overcrowded Musa company dorm does not meet acceptable standards for human habitation.

The Jordanian Ministry of Labor has not said why six Bangladeshi guest workers at Musa were arbitrarily imprisoned, beaten and then forcibly deported the very day after officials gave their word that the workers would not be deported.  Another six workers remain in prison and are also threatened with forcible deportation.

Guest workers remaining in the Musa factory say they are terrified there will be further attacks.

Freedom of movement:  The NLC has repeatedly urged the Jordanian Ministry of Labor to adopt a policy guaranteeing the right of guest workers to relocate from sweatshops to better factories. As the Israeli Supreme Court has pointed out (in a decision with regard to the country's own guest workers), guaranteeing guest workers' freedom to relocate to better factories is the single most effective way to isolate and eradicate sweatshop abuses.  To date, the Jordanian MOL has yet to respond.  Foreign guest workers in Jordan remain bound to a single factory.

Report: U.S. -Jordan Free Trade Agreement Stumbles