A tripartite agreement for salary payment of textile workers during Pandemic period

إجتماع ثلاثي لدفع أجور العمال في الغزل والنسيج أثناء جائحة كورونا

The joint committee of representatives of textile sector employers and employees met to discuss several government decisions and Defense orders issued during the last period in particular those that affect workers in general and textile workers in particular as situation is becoming very hard on all.

During the meeting, it was stressed by all to comply with and implement all defense orders which aim to care for and protect workers’ life and maintain their livelihood which will lead to protection of textile and garment sector in Jordan.

In the meeting, Defense Order no. 6 of 2020 was reviewed. The Order stipulates that establishment authorized to perform partially or not included in non-work or unauthorized to work decision may apply to Minister of Labor to pay 50% of regular salary on condition it is not below minimum wage.

Pursuant to the Collective Agreement, employers pay minimum wage, so they will continue salary payment as well as in-kind items. This does not contradict with Defense Order requirements.

It was agreed to pay full wage of March 2020 without any deduction from both local and migrant workers as stated in Defence Order 6. As for workers who were not authorized to work during April 2020 whether at site or remotely, they will receive 70% of monthly salary, for JDs 300 minimum for Jordanian and foreign workers. Similarly, same process continued to apply during May 2020 until all workers return to work normally. It was also agreed during the meeting on specific means to pay salaries and avoid all misinterpretations. It was stressed also that during the lockdown, factories shall continue provide accommodation and meals to workers who were unauthorized to perform work.

The participants agreed on the QIZ textile workers’ interests and their daily livelihood. It is a sensitive and important sector for all parties and needs to be taken care of in order to maintain its competitiveness. They agreed to implement and comply with health and public safety and work SOPs approved by Ministry of Labor.

The minutes of the meeting was signed by JGATE President, Mr. Farhan Ifram, Jordan Chamber of Industry representative, Mr. Ihab Qadri, and the President of the General Union of Textile and Garment Sector Workers, Mr. Fathalla Omrani.

A New Sectoral Collective Bargain Agreement

Remarks of the Union’s President Fathallah Al-Omrani

With the help of all concerned parties, the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries (the Union) had successfully concluded a new sectoral Collective Bargain Agreement (the Agreement) along with Jordan Garments, Accessories & Textiles Exporters’ Association (JGATE), and the Association of Owners of Factories, Workshops and Garments (AOFWG). It is a good opportunity to commend all efforts that had resulted with signature of the Agreement that will serve entire Sector.

According to the Labor Law, the Union is tasked with improvement of labor conditions and relations, including conduct of collective bargaining and agreements. This Agreement is a way to continue progress of textile and clothes sector which aims to support Jordan economy and improve work conditions. The Agreement is also a step forward building on previous sectoral bargain agreement.

The Agreement is a result of outstanding cooperation between all parties; employers and employees, and reflects the positive atmosphere of the Sector. It led to positive stability of the relationship between parties and improvement of production concepts which will resolve amicably all disputes that may arise from time to time. We hope that all Agreement’s provisions will be fully implemented taking into consideration the mutual interests of all parties.

The Agreement shall be a model for other sectors. It is a way to manage any social dialogue process for solid industrial relationships whether on employers’ level or the Sector as a whole. It is a reflection of best practices that are in line with internationally acknowledged labor standards.

We, at the Union, seek always to establish, enhance and organize balanced relationships between investors and employees. It is our aim to create attractive work environment that leads to the welfare of workers and benefit of investors.

Therefore, at the time the Union calls the employers to implement the Agreement, it urges employees to work sincerely to maximize production and improve productivity to maintain and sustain investments.

Finally, as we congratulate all those concerned on the signing of the sectoral agreement which its enforcement started on 1 Nov. 2019 and will remain valid till 1 Nov. 2022, we commend the positive understanding by all parties as well as the role played by BWJ in bringing together the different viewpoints. We also thank all those who sought and contributed to achieve these results.

Four Capacity Building Workshops organized for union committees in Irbid

In cooperation with the International Federation of Industries, The Union organized four workshops on capacity building of union committees members in Irbid region. The Union President Fathalla Omrani explained sector issues and ways to support union work.

Furthermore, workers learned on the International Federation of Industries, identified the challenges which they face in factories and dorms, and discussed possible solutions as well as the role of the Union in protecting workers’ rights and the role of workers in supporting Union’s activities. In addition, the participants learned on the Collective Bargain Agreement of Textile Sector. Mr. Omrani stressed its importance and advantages for the workers. He also urged workers to activate role of committees at work sites and the need to communicate between committees and workers in factories.

The Union meets with union committees to explain the new Sectoral CBA

The Trade Union, in cooperation with BWJ and factories’ management, had organized several meetings with union committees.

The meetings conducted in Irbid QIZ, Addulail QIZ and Sahab QIZ and attended by workers of different nationalities, clarified articles of the sectoral collective bargain agreement recently signed.

They also discussed measures on how to inform workers of its items at all factories.

The Union and JGATE propose to MOL new controls on foreign labor force

Jordan Garments, Accessories & Textiles Exporters’ Association (JGATE) and the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries (the Union) represented by their presidents and board members and members appreciated the efforts and role played by Minister of Labor and his support for textile and apparel sector in removing all obstacles that hinder sector growth and progress.

In a joint letter sent to the Minister, both the Union and JGATE stated that Textile Sector is one of the promising and supporting sectors of the economy in spite of difficulties they face. They added that MOL dispatched recently inspection teams to QIZ enterprises where they found that few number of workers of foreign nationalities holding work permits of professions factory worker, factory worker / sewing technician, factory worker / machine operator, factory worker / QA, sewing technician, etc. but performing administrative jobs needed by factories to operate being foreign investors employing huge number of foreign workers, and they need non-Jordanian workers to operate critical jobs.

Further, they stated that MOL inspectors were accompanied by police officers who arrested violating workers and ordered immediate deportation. We believe that it is against human rights. In addition, a cash penalty of three thousand dinar was paid for each worker found. It is a huge amount for the factories.

The letter included a proposal to identify closed and restricted trades and professions for migrant workers of textile sector, and grant a grace period to correct the situation till date of expiry of each work permit. Upon renewal, the profession shall be amended reflecting exact situation. The letter urged to offer the Sector an open description of permits which include admin jobs and others. Each factory might be granted six vacancies of closed jobs for every 300 workers. In addition, they called for stop of inspection raids on factories but suffice with warnings, sanctions without arrest or imprisonment of violating workers.

The Union participates in the Annual Brands Buyers’ Forum

Under the supervision of Better Work Jordan Program (BWJ) and with active participation of the Union Board, the Eleventh Annual Brands Buyers and Stakeholders Forum held in Amman. BWJ is keen and fully aware of bringing together all stakeholders to meet, share ideas and opinions and find solutions for the challenges which employees, the Union, investors and brands’ owners face. The Forum plays a major role in sustainability of textile sector.

The Forum discussed issues of welfare and psychiatric health of textile employees. This issue had appeared during the past years as a result of change of work organization, request for production increase. At the meeting, the Forum discussed offering employees required welfare which will reflect positively on their health.

In another meeting session, work environment at the Jordanian textile sector was discussed. The partnership between stakeholders is the key for continuity of positive change. It was noted that the textile sector constitutes 25% of total national exports. Further, the attendees discussed enhancing cooperation between governments, employers, trade unions and brands owners to have more impact and sustainability for all.

In a special session, the employment challenge in Jordan was discussed, as the labor market started facing many complex challenges. The market became unable to absorb new entrants and find jobs for them. The participants stressed that there is potential growth of the market and opportunities still exist and need to be properly approached and utilized.

A Workshop on combating sexual harassment at work

A workshop at the Union’s offices in Ad-Dulail QIZ was organized and attended by almost one hundred female workers to discuss matters related to sexual harassment at worksite. Representatives of ILO and the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries (the Union) attended the workshop.

At the workshop, sexual harassment phenomenon was thoroughly discussed to ensure its elimination and report of perpetrators. Organization of the workshop was a proof of the Union’s belief in gender equality at worksite and to combat any manifestations of harassment being verbal, suggestive, or physical.

The participants discussed the concept of harassment which is “conduct of any unwelcomed sexually suggestive that may lead to hostile work environment or when the other party receiving such suggestive signs may consider unethical and reject that. This may affect negatively the current or potential work conditions.”

The participants pointed out that paragraph (a/6) of article 29 of the valid Jordanian Labor Law number 8 for 1996 as amended states that “the employee may leave the work without notice, maintaining all legal rights for end of service as well as compensations for harm and damage if the employer or representative attacks the employee during work whether by hitting, insulting or any other type of sexual attack punishable according to the provisions of valid legislations.”

Whereas paragraph (b) of the same article states that “if the Minister finds out that an attack by the employer or his representative has occurred or practiced any kind of sexual harassment on employees, he may close out the establishment for a period deem appropriate, taking into consideration provisions of any other valid legislations”.

Capacity Building Training

In cooperation with the International Federation of Industries, the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment, and Clothing Industries (the Union) organized three capacity building training workshops for union committees members in Irbid qualified industrial zone.
The Union President, Mr. Fathallah Al-Omrani inaugurated the workshops. He stressed the importance of such training workshops which increases the labor culture and introduces participants with knowledge on various labor-related information to include collective bargains and agreements issues.
During the workshops, the participants learned on the challenges the employees face at factories and dorms, and discussed probable solutions. They also discussed the Union’s role in protecting employees and their rights, the employees’ role towards the Union. In addition, the participants were updated of the special textile sector agreement, ways to activate work and role of the Union’s committees in factories and dorms. They were urged to maintain communication with the committees.