Reports

September, 27 2006 |  Share

Horizon Report, Jordan

 

Horizon Clothing Manufacturing Co.
Al Tajamouat Industrial City
Sahab, Jordan

Phone: 962-6-402-2194
Email: IZ@nets.com.jo
Owner: Mr. Marwan Zalitima (Palestinian)
Human Resources: Ms. Fatima  

Approximately 200 workers;  90 guest workers from Bangladesh, 10 from India, 100 Arab workers.

Deported:  Mr. Mohim Hossain (Passport No. WO 174827)

Mr. Mohim Hossain arrived in Jordan on April 25, 2004, having paid 140,000 Taka ($2,015) to purchase his three-year work contract at the Horizon factory.  He was fired and deported on July 15, 2006, and returned to Bangladesh without receiving any of the Social Security funds due him.  (These funds are deducted from the workers' wages every month and are to be returned when the workers leave Jordan.)

Arrested and Imprisoned:  Mr. Abdul Gaffar

Mr. Abdul Gaffar, after being told he too would be fired and forcibly deported back to Bangladesh, tried to escape from the factory, hoping to flee Jordan.  He was captured by the police in July and, according to the workers, was still imprisoned as of early September.  The workers say Mr. Gaffar is "rotting in prison."

Mr. Mohim Hossain wants to be immediately returned to Jordan with payment of all back wages for his illegal firing.  Mr. Abdul Gaffar wants to be freed from jail.  Both workers want the option to be transferred to a better factory, where their legal rights will be respected.

 

Abusive Working Conditions at the Horizon Factory (As of July 2006)

  • Workers' passports not returned to them, nor had workers been provided their residency permits
  • Routine 11 to 13-hour daily shifts, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 or 8:30 p.m.
  • The "regular" workday was illegally set at 10 hours rather than eight, and 60 hours for the week rather than the legal, regular 48-hour workweek
  • Workers paid below the legal minimum wage and cheated on their overtime pay, earning as little as 39 cents an hour, whereas the legal minimum wage was 64 1/2 cents an hour
  • No government or public holidays were respected
  • Workers absent for one day would be punished with the loss of three days' pay

 

The "Crime"

For daring to speak with social compliance auditors sent by U.S. companies in early July, Mr. Mohim Hossain and Mr. Abdul Gaffar were called into the office of Ms. Fatima, Horizon's human resources manager, on July 8 and told they would soon be fired and forcibly deported.  Their "crime" was speaking truthfully regarding the abusive and illegal working conditions at the Horizon factory.  Ms. Fatima said she wanted to make an example of them so as to deliver a strong message to the rest of the workers.  Apparently the message being either to lie to the auditors or be fired and deported.  That same day, Mr. Mohim Hossain was taken to the local labor court where his visa was cancelled.  Then, on July 15, 2006, Mr. Hossain was deported.

Having seen this, Mr. Abdul Gaffar, who was also threatened with deportation, tried to flee the factory, hoping to cross the border out of Jordan.  Horizon management alerted the police, who captured Mr. Gaffair, who was then imprisoned.  According to the workers, he remains in jail.

It was not until after the publication of the NLC's report on human trafficking and involuntary servitude in Jordan's free trade garment factories that, in August, the Horizon factory finally began to respect the legal eight-hour day and pay the lawful minimum wage.