Alerts

Update on Century Miracle Factory in Jordan

March, 03 2015 Share

A Hard Life, but Some Improvements for Foreign Guest Workers

 

As of January 2015, the Century Miracle factory in Jordan has a total of 3,000 foreign guest workers in two divisions:  The Knit Division, with approximately 1,446 guest workers producing about 800,000 t-shirts a month, and the Sweater Division with some 1,340 workers, which produces 400,000 pieces a month—along with an additional 200 general workers. 

Century Miracle’s 3,000 guest workers come from China, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka and Nepal.  In the past there were also workers from Vietnam, the last of whom left Jordan in January.

As of 2015, Century Miracle has been separated from Century Wear, which is owned by a Jordanian business group.

 

Century Miracle Sweatshop, June 2013 – December 2014

Confiscated Passports Returned to Workers

Foreign guest workers’ passports were confiscated by factory management—which constitutes the crime of human trafficking.  Approximately 90 percent of the guest workers’ passports were held by management. 

Century Miracle’s management began to return worker passports following the release of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights report in December 2014.  This was a major step forward.

In its response to the Institute’s alert, Century Miracle management reported to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre that as of “the month of the report” it held the passports of just 428 workers.  This may well have been the case at the end of December, following return of most workers’ passports.  (At any given time some 10 percent of worker passports may be in the hands of management for legitimate reasons, such as renewal of visas or residency permits.)

 

Brutal working hours reduced

In 2014, Century Miracle’s foreign guest workers were forced to toil 104 to 110 hours a week.  The factory operated seven days a week.  Mandatory 15- and 16-hour shifts, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 or 11:30 p.m., were the norm.  On Fridays—supposedly the workers’ day off—workers had to toil from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30, 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.

Reporting on violations at Century Miracle by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre led to much lighter hours.  Today, guest workers at Century Miracle toil from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 or 8:00 p.m., putting in a 12 ½ to 13 hour shift, including a 30-minute lunch break.  Workers no longer toil past 8:00 p.m.

In January 2015, the workers received all five Friday’s off and in February, they had all four Fridays off.

While all overtime is still obligatory, the workers feel that the hours are now manageable and they are prepared and generally happy to work the eight-hour regular shift plus five hours of overtime.

 

Wages Are Paid on Time And Properly

The guest workers’ regular wages are $155.14 a month plus overtime, which is paid at double time.  The workers are paid correctly and on time.  On the down-side, Century Miracle has not raised the workers’ wages for years.  (In contrast, one of the largest garment factories in Jordan, Classic Fashion, increased its workers’ monthly wages by JD 10—$14.13—in February 2015.)

 

Primitive Dorm Conditions, Lack of Heat and Hot Water

There have been some improvements.  The workers estimate that there is hot water sufficient for 75 percent of the workforce (up from 25 percent), but still not for everyone.

Management has hired a pest control firm and the bed bug problem has been brought under better control.  There are still some bites, but nothing like before.  (The workers hope that there will be regular pest control, especially during the warmer months when bed bugs are at their most active and torturous.)

 

Lack of Access to Medical Care Is Still a Problem

There are still no Bengali-speaking paramedics or nurses at the factory.

Workers have no access to sick leave or medical services.

 

Deportations

Over the last four months from November 2014 to February 2015, no guest workers were forcibly deported.

 

 

Violation of the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement: Human Trafficking Returns to Jordan. December 22, 2014