Alerts

Ongoing Violations at the J.R. Textiles Ltd. in Jordan

October, 02 2007 Share

 October 2, 2007 

Urgent Alert

 

J.R. Textiles Ltd.
Al Tajamouat Industrial City
Sahab, Amman, Jordan

  • Foreign guest workers stripped of passports.
  • Denied residency permits.
  • Three workers imprisoned and forcibly deported for approaching management regarding underpayment of wages, rat-infested dorms and rotten food.

Production for: - Old Navy / GAP
                         - Ameno
                         - Vertigo Paris
                         - Yuka Paris

  All labels say "Made in Israel"
  The factory specializes in women's shirts and jeans.

  • J.R. Textiles is owned by an Iraqi businessman, Mr. Abu Gajuan
  • It is a small subcontract factory with 82 workers-61 Bangladeshis, 10 Sri Lankans, 10 Jordanians, and one from India.
  • The Bangladeshi workers had to pay nearly $2,000 to purchase their three-year contracts.  Most of the Bangladeshi workers entered the factory in April 2006, where they have worked under abusive conditions for the last 17 months.
Forced Overtime and Cheated of Wages

The routine shift is 11 hours a day, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., six and seven days a week.  On average, the workers are allowed just two days off a month.  Workers are shortchanged of over 30 percent of the wages legally due them.

Hours:  Workers at the factory 66 to 77 hours a week

Routine Shift

7:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 

(Work, 5 ½ hours)

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 

(Lunch, 1 hour)

2:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  

(Work, 4 ½ hours)

The workers are not paid for the two mandatory overtime hours required each day.  The workers also toil two Fridays a month and are paid an overtime rate of just 35 cents to 49 cents per hour, which is well below the legal weekend overtime premium of $1.12 per hour.

On average then, the workers toil 6 ½ days a week, putting them at the factory 71 hours, while actually working 65 hours, including 17 hours of overtime.  These workers should be earning $52.56 a week and $227.76 a month.  Instead, they are earning just $155.15 a month, which means that these poor workers are being shortchanged of $72.61 each month in wages legally due them.

Primitive Housing and Sickening Food

Until very recently, the workers were housed in an extremely primitive dorm constructed out of tin.  Forty workers shared one room.  In the summer, temperatures were unbearably hot and everyone was drenched in sweat.  There were no fans.  In the winter, everyone froze since there was no heater.  When it rained, water flooded down the walls.  The dorm was infested with rats, mice, bugs and mosquitoes.  Water was not always available and the drinking water was not pure.  Each week several workers fell ill with dysentery and diarrhea.  Only after a recent strike were the workers moved into a stone building.  But it is still infested and lacks a door, so there is no security.

The workers report that the food is too little and of extremely poor quality.  Often there is dirt in the food and the lentils are rotten.  Sometimes the smell is so bad the workers vomit.  There are no tables or chairs to eat properly, so the workers must sit on the ground.

For daring to question the low wages, primitive living conditions and poor food, three workers were imprisoned and forcibly deported back to Bangladesh on September 10, 2007.  The three workers are:

- Mr. Shohel Khan (Factory ID # 105)
- Mr. Ramjan Ali (Factory ID # 119)
- Mr. Rubel Mia (Factory ID # 107)

Money was taken from the workers while they were in prison.  They were not fed.  And the workers were deported without the Social Security payments deducted from their wages and legally due them upon leaving the factory.

To improve conditions, the workers struck on August 27 and 28, and again on September 5.  The workers won two very modest gains:  less money is being deducted from their wages for food, and they have been moved out of the tin dorm and into a stone house, though it is still infested, lacks fans or heat and has only sporadic access to water.

These workers need help to restore their fundamental legal rights guaranteed under Jordanian law and under the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.