Press

Progress! Wages, Working Conditions Improve at Classic Factory

Change.org |  By Amanda Kloer | August, 12 2011 |  Share  | Source Article


This week, over 100,000 people joined a campaign asking Target, Hanes, Macy's and other major brands to pull their orders from Classic Factory in Jordan, unless the rampant sexual assault, labor abuses, and poor working conditions were stopped. Recent reports from inside Classic Factory indicate that while none of the managers accused of raping female workers have been brought to justice, working conditions are improving as a result of the public pressure.

In the past two weeks, after the well-publicized launch of a campaign on Change.org, working conditions at Classic Factory have improved moderately. Previously, workers were having the cost of their meals taken out of their meager wages, despite contracts which stated meals would be provided. Now, workers are provided meals in accordance with their contract and are able to keep their whole wages. Similarly, many workers who were supposed to be working 12 hour shifts were actually working 15 or 18 hour shifts, with no overtime pay. Now, 12 hours shifts are standard. And finally, many workers were forced to work on Fridays, the local holy day, and during Ramadan. Now they have Fridays off and are allowed to observe Ramadan freely. But perhaps most significantly, there have been no reports of new rapes since the campaign began.

Despite these improvements, the situation at Classic remains a serious threat to the health and well-being of the workers, most of whom are young women from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. For a few weeks now, the factory has been locked down, and workers' movements are tightly controlled and monitored. Some workers have had their cell phones confiscated. Many of the male workers have been moved to other factories or deported, leaving the female workers even more vulnerable. It is imperative that Target, Hanes, Macy's and the other brands intervene, to prevent further rapes and human rights abuses.

The improvements in Classic show that factories are reluctant to engage in as many egregious human rights abuses when they know their buyers -- and the world -- are watching them. The numerous press news stories about and growing number of signatures on this campaign have helped the women of Classic gain a little more money, a little more time, and a little more dignity to worship as they choose. However, there is still a long, long way to go. And the women of Classic will not be truly free until the companies they make clothes for finally stand up for them.

You can join the campaign to put an end to the sexual abuses at the Classic Factory in Jordan by asking Target, Hanes, and Macy's to stand up for human rights and stop buying from Classic unless conditions improve.

 

Photo credit: nonafara

Amanda Kloer is a Change.org Editor and has been a full-time abolitionist in several capacities for seven years. Follow her on Twitter @endhumantraffic