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Update: The State of Jordan's Garment Factories

September, 27 2006 Share

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Overall, progress continues, but serious cases of human trafficking and wage and hour violations persist.

 

According to workers on the ground, the majority of Jordan's garment factories - perhaps as high as 80 percent - have shown substantial improvements. Conditions in these factories are far better now than they were in May of 2006.

Of the factories highlighted in the first NLC report, the Maintrend plant continues to improve and the workers report no major violations. This is certainly a success story.

The Centear Clothing factory has also implemented important improvements: workers' passports were returned; the regular eight-hour day and payment of the minimum wage are respected; workers have Fridays off, and shifts now end at 8:30 p.m. rather than at 11:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. as was the case in the past. (We have never heard complaints from the guest workers in Jordan about working a 12 or 12 ½ hour shift-as long as they are paid their overtime correctly. However, anything above 12 ½ hours is judged excessive by the workers.)

In the middle ground are factories such as the Paramount Garments plant, where the daily shift now finishes at 8:30 p.m., and not 10:30 p.m. or 12 midnight as was the case in the past. The workers are also being paid the legal minimum wage. However, the workers report that they are still being shortchanged of up to half of the overtime pay legally due them. Further, for the workers housed in the factory, dorm conditions remain substandard.

At the Goldenwear factory, there was also a sign of progress when the workers struck in early September to win the regular eight-hour workday. In the past, this would have been unheard of and such a strike would have been met with retaliatory firings and deportation. On the down side, as many as 70 percent of Goldenwear's workers have yet to receive their passports. The majority of workers do have their residency permits, but even here, many are out of date.

 

$2 Million a Day in U.S. Aid to Jordan

Over the last five years, Jordan has received a total of  3.59 billion in US foreign aid-for an average of $718 million a year, or nearly $2 million a day.

Jordanian Intelligence along receives about $20 million a year, by some estimates.

Source:   Los Angleles Times, October 1, 2006

 

Southern Apparels is another factory where improvements have been made-the workers now earn the legal minimum wage of 95 JD ($134.28) a month and receive their weekly holiday on Friday-but they are still required to work to 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Workers are at the factory a minimum of 84 hours a week. Nor is their overtime recorded and paid correctly. The workers report that their housing and food remain substandard.

At the Pacific Garments Factory the workers now earn the minimum wage, receive one day off a week, and they rarely work past 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. However, the workers report that they are not being paid the legal overtime premium, which would be 81 cents an hour.

At the United Garments Factory major problems persist. Daily routine 14 ½ to 15 ½ hour shifts stretch from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. At a minimum, workers are at the factory 87 hours a week. There are also grueling weekly all-night 18 ½ hour shifts, from 7:30 a.m. straight through to 2:00 a.m. Typically such shifts rotate among assembly lines that have fallen behind on their production goals. Workers also report being shortchanged of up to one half of the overtime wages legally due them. There is much need for improvement here, as the United Garments factory is among those plants not seriously heeding the reforms that are underway in Jordan.

This update is composed of several in-depth reports documenting continued human trafficking, illegal working conditions and forcible deportations at the following factories:

Urgent action is necessary in each of these cases

 

Table of Contents:

  1. Atateks Report

Response from Atateks General Manager

  1. Transcript of NLC Interview with Atateks Workers

  2. Silver Planet Report

  3. Transcript of NLC Intervew with Silver Planet Workers

  4. Flyer on Jordanian Labor Law Given to Bangladeshi Workers During the NLC-USW Delegation Trip to Jordan

  5. Horizon Factory

  6. Jordan Silk Factory

  7. Golden Finger Factory