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November, 10 2010 |  Download PDF |  Share

Systematic Gross Violations of Human and Worker Rights Continue under the U.S.-Jordan FTA: Classic Fashion Apparel

 

Classic Fashion Apparel

Classic Fashion Apparel Industry Ltd. Co.
Al Hassan Industrial Area
Irbid, Jordan

The Classic Fashion Apparel company is a large apparel manufacturer with six factories in the Al Hassan Industrial Park in Irbid, Jordan, where approximately 4,500 foreign guest workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Nepal toil under harsh sweatshop conditions.  The majority of guest workers are Sri Lankan, with an estimated 600 to 700 Bangladeshi workers and another 500 India and Nepalese workers.

Classic also has two other garment factories, one in the Ad Dulayl Industrial Area and another in Al Tajamouat.

Classic is owned by a wealthy Indian businessman, Mr. Sanal.

The Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights has been tracking serious violations at Classic factories since March 2007.

Workers report that approximately 60 percent of current production is for Wal-Mart's "George" and "Danskin Now" labels.  Other labels currently sewn at Classic include "Champion" for Hanes and "Style & Co Jeans" for Macy'sRussell, Sears, Fruit of the Loom and Talbots have all been sewn in 2009 and 2010.  All the above garments, made under sweatshop conditions, enter the U.S. duty-free under the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.  With so many prominent labels being sewn at Classic, one would expect these giant retailers could do a better job of monitoring factory conditions.

As most Jordanians refuse to work in the garment factories, the vast majority-up to 90 percent-of workers are foreign guest workers.  The majority of Jordan's apparel factories are foreign-owned and almost all of the textiles come from China.  As textiles account for approximately 63 percent of the cost of the garment, Chinese textile plants are the largest beneficiaries of the duty-free tariff breaks under the U.S.-Jordan FTA.

 

 

Summary of Illegal Sweatshop Conditions at Classic Fashion

  • Management illegally confiscated the passports of more than 2,000 foreign guest workers.
  • All overtime is mandatory, and workers are routinely at the Classic factory up to 99 ½ hours a week.  This includes a grueling, forced 24 ½ hour all-night shift each week from 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning straight through to 8:00 a.m. Friday morning.  Overtime hours exceed Jordan's legal limit by 214 percent.
  • Workers report being cheated of 41 to 46 percent of the wages legally due them.  Workers should be earning $75.96 to $78.24 for the 89 ½ to 92-hours of work.  Instead they earn just $40.67 to $45.55.
  • Physical abuse, beatings and threats by management are the norm.  In mid-September 2010, a Sri Lankan production manager, Mr. Sorminda, slapped a sewing operator, Ms. Kumari, for failing to reach her mandatory production goal.  Mr. Faruk, also a production manager, punched a mechanic, Mr. Sabuj, when he refused to unload fabric, protesting that he was a skilled mechanic and not a manual laborer.  Mr. Monos, Classic's accountant, routinely curses, pushes and slaps workers who ask for clarification regarding how their overtime was calculated, as what they are paid is far below what they are owed.  In early September, Mr. Monos hit Ms. Debika, a sewing operator, when she questioned her pay.
  • The primitive, overcrowded worker dorms are infested with bed bugs.  Despite their exhaustion after working 14 ½ to 15 hours a day, workers have trouble sleeping due to constant bed bug bites, which are painful and itchy and often lead to swelling and infections.  Workers report that water in both the factory and dorm is not potable, and the workers frequently suffer dysentery.  Factory food is of low quality and often rotten.
 

 

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