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.