Report of 2011-2014

The General Trade union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries

It is a well-established organization created by the workers to defend their interests. It an independent democratic voluntary organization aims to develop the privileges of its members, and increase and protect their rights. It was established in 1954.

Union's Mission

The Union seeks to achieve better life to workers through improving their living standards, increasing their productivity, protecting eligible rights of the members, defending their interests, spreading union awareness, educating them, and improving economic and health levels of members in general. Furthermore, the Union supports the democratic approach and protects rights and freedoms of members and the public for better Jordan.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Our Sector's Workers

and To Whom It May Concern

 

Greetings,

Prior to presenting our report that reflects briefly main accomplishments of Our Textile and Garment Union for the past four years, it is noteworthy to refer to the fact that the Government had issued a decision to increase minimum wage from JDs 95 to JDs 110. This decision applied on all national workers with the exception of our sector's workers. The Union rejected the decision and organized a series of protests. Finally, the Government was obliged to reconsider and issued another decision that the new minimum wage covers all workers including our sector's workers, but it became effective as of 1 Jan. 2007 which deprived the sector's workers this pay increase for a period of six months.

In 2009, we were excluded for a second time; when minimum wage was increased to become JDs 150. The Union did not stand still. The decision was challenged. We succeeded on 8 Jan. 2009, with great efforts, to sign an agreement with both Ministry of Labor and Employers’ Associations to raise wages to become JDs 150 as a living allowance item added to their (JDs 110) minimum wage, keeping their minimum wage at JDs 110.

In 2012, we were excluded for the third time; when minimum wage was increased to become JDs 190. After a lengthy debate with the employers' associations and the Government, The Union succeeded to conclude an agreement for the benefit of local workers. The Agreement was signed on 1 Feb. 2012 and acknowledged JDs 20 increase of living allowance. The worker receives total of JDs 190 as of 1 Jan. 2013.

Regarding the migrant workers, they were entitled to receive a 5 JD annual increase for each year of service to maximum JDs 20 as of 20 Feb. 2012.

After arduous efforts and prolonged conflicts among the Union, the Government and the Employers' Associations, the Union succeeded finally, through dialogue with all production parties for a period extended one whole year with assistance from international organizations especially ILO and many consultants, to set a future strategy to help protect and expand the sector. All production parties agreed to sign sectoral agreements that regulate industrial relations and protect workers within the scope of the national laws and the international standards. The agreement ensures that the worker, no matter national of foreigner, receives a 5-dinar annual increase without any discrimination.

The Union worked and shall work for your sake. The workers' interests were our main concern during the previous union term. At the end of this term (2011 – 2014) we present our periodic report that summarizes main milestones, activities and achievements that the Union Board did for the interest of Sector and Workers of Textile, Garment and Clothing.

Sectoral and Collective Agreements

Year

No. of Collective Agreements

No. of Sectoral Agreements

2011

13

2012

8

2

2013

9

1

2014

4

1

 

 

The Collective Agreements achieved several benefits to workers: wage increase, providing transportation, food and accommodation improvement, health care, medications, and better work environment. Furthermore, the agreements included provisions to allow Union's dues deduction directly by employer to Union's fund.

 

Health Agreements

Year

No. of Agreements

No. of Beneficiaries

2011

6

64,172

2012

5

70,595

2013

9

71,938

2014

3

65,122

 

 

The Health Agreements included many factories and employers as well as periodic annual tests of workers. Thousands of workers benefitted during the past four years. Thanks to friends UA Zensen organization and the Japanese government who provided us with two fully-equipped clinics so that we can offer the workers the basic medical services.

 

Employment

The Union succeeded in finding jobs for national and migrant workers who submitted job applications to the Union as shown in below table:

Year

No. of Jordanian Workers

No. of Migrant Workers

2011

235

45

2012

173

12

2013

196

9

2014

206

 

 

Individual Cases

In addition, the Union succeeded in the past four years in solving several individual cases as shown in below table:

Year

No. of Cases

2011

1,115

2012

855

2013

815

2014

1,346

 

 

The individual cases varied and covered: returning passport to owners, payment of return air ticket, collection of dues and entitlements (wages and social security compensations), follow-up of arbitrary termination cases, warnings, unjustified wage deductions, wage collection on time, etc.)  

Collective Cases

The Union exerted huge and prompt efforts to find proper solutions for the collective cases and strikes to serve workers' interests and human needs, and maintain production cycle as shown in below table:

Year

No. of Cases

No. of Beneficiaries

2011

61

5,699

2012

47

2,365

2013

63

2,359

2014

57

2,949

 

Strikes:

Year

No. of Strikes

No. of Participants

No. of days suspended

2011

42

15,544

167

2012

12

6,579

34

2013

19

10,151

64

2014

13

7,367

32

 

 

The collective work and strikes had resulted the following gains and results:

  • Free food
  • Better accommodation and food
  • Free medications and sick leaves
  • Better middle management approach
  • Not to force workers on work to meet the target exceeding their abilities and capabilities during working hours.
  • Returning seized passports.
  • Respect human rights of workers.
  • Payment of overtime hours.
  • Reducing daily work hours.
  • Issuance of work permits and residence cards.
  • Allowing migrant workers return to their countries without paying residency penalties.

 

It is noteworthy, the support of workers to their Union has led to achieve such results and thus enjoy their rights similar to national workers.

 

Workers' Capacity Building and Education

The Union's Board had shown huge attention and concern for capacity building and education of workers in the fields of laws and regulations. The Union cooperated with several international organizations such as German Frederich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Japan Workers' Union (UAZENSEN), Norwegian Trade Union confederation (LO-N), ITUC, ILO and US Solidarity Center. Many training workshops were organized and attended by local and migrant workers as shown in the following table:

 

Year

No. of local workshops

No. of Jordanian participants

No. of migrant participants

No. of out-of-country participations

2011

10

150

40

7

2012

11

132

88

14

2013

20

155

147

14

2014

22

196

248

7

 

 

As a result to the distinguished relations with Palestinian Union of Textile Workers, we organize a joint workshop every year at the Trade Union’s office in Irbid City attended by Jordanian and Palestinian textile workers. Workshop costs are covered by Japan Workers Union UAZENSEN. We hope that such activity will reflect positively on our union’s staff in their union work and activities.

 

Trade Union Committees

The Union's Board had shown huge attention and concern for trade union committees and establishment. According to collective agreement requirements, committee elections of several nationalities were organized. Distinguished industrial relationships are built among committees and managements of factories. They communicate with Union offices located in three industrial zones. Total number is 31 elected union committees at 31 establishments. Total number of members is 276 of the following nationalities: (Jordanian, Bengali, Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepali, Burma, Pakistani, Madagascar, and Chinese).    

 

Media and Publication

Funded by FES, The Union has been publishing its periodic newsletter for the fifteenth year continuously in 3,000 copies distributed free to workers. In addition, brochures are published in Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Sri Lankan, English and Chinese languages. The purpose is to inform the Union’s role in defending workers’ rights and raise awareness on national legislations and workers’ agreements.

Union Organization and National Legislations

Previously, the Jordanian Labor Law prohibited migrant workers to join trade unions. The Trade Union, through dialogue with Government, ILO and other international organizations’ representatives, succeeded in law amendment to be in line with international standards. The Government agreed to take out the article that prohibits migrant workers from joining trade unions on 15 July 2010.

Main provisions that were amended on 15 July 2010 to benefit workers are:

  • Article 61/1of Labor Law: Official holidays, religious holidays and weekends are not calculated within annual holidays.
  • Article 97 of the Law: Right of Organization – Migrant workers are allowed to join and become members of trade unions.
  • Article 108 of the Law: the trade Union representative is protected by Labor Law.

Furthermore, Social Security law was amended to strengthen trade unions and allow expansion of membership. Such amendments affected positively and helped concluding collective agreements. The workers noted and appreciated the benefits achieved. In addition, awareness of Union’s importance and role in defending workers’ rights increased.

The following table shows number of national and migrant workers at qualified industrial zones (QIZ) on 31 Dec. 2014:

Number of workers

year

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Jordanians total

8051

9137

10032

13024

15831

Male

2943

2788

3306

4183

4348

Female

5108

6349

6726

8841

11483

 

 

 

 

 

 

Migrants total

27746

28877

30326

35812

39114

Male

13861

12200

12059

12609

12227

Female

13885

16677

18267

23203

26887

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Total

35797

38014

40358

48836

54945

Male

16804

14988

15365

16792

16575

Female

18993

23026

24993

32044

38370

 

 

The table shows the huge increase of workers’ numbers during the period 2010 – 2014 being national or migrant workers. Number of Jordanian workers doubled during that period. This proves from a practical perspective the Union’s point of view that legislation development, better work conditions, fair wage and protecting workers’ rights shall contribute to reduce unemployment rate, and support national economy   in general.

It is note-mentioning that those workers work in 81 companies distributed in six qualified industrial zones, satellite areas and other companies at different locations outside industrial zones. They are apparel and garment producers and export their products to US market only. Total export in 2014 reached US$ 1,354,000,000. This shows the high importance of our sector and huge responsibility of the Union to care the interests of this high number of workers.

Main Challenges of Local workforce

The reasons why Jordanian workers are reluctant to look for work at QIZs are:

  1. Low wages due to exceptions made during 2006 till 2012.
  2. Inappropriate work environment due to different cultures and the way Jordanian workers are treated at work.
  3. Locals perform subsidiary jobs and are not trained to perform basic work.
  4. Locals do not enjoy similar benefits of migrant workers such as health care, meals and other privileges.

Main Challenges that the Union faces when dealing with migrant workers:

  • Multiple nationalities, cultures and languages.
  • Weak knowledge of trade union work.
  • Weak knowledge of their rights and responsibilities as stated in the Jordanian Labor Law.
  • Many migrant workers are illiterate; this makes it difficult to communicate with them.
  • Sometimes, group of workers try to dominate workers which affects negatively the workers and the union work especially if they enjoy relationships with employers or the companies at the workers’ home countries.
  • Workers run away from designated work sites and work illegally at other places. They become subject to exploitation.
  • Conflict arising among workers of different nationalities is disturbing which obliges the trade union to look for solutions.
  • No sufficient number of interpreters available to communicate with different nationalities.
  • Lack of financial resources to cover daily expenses needed to employ sufficient staff to follow-up all problems that may arise.

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters

Textile and Garment Sector Workers,

 

The Trade union was established for your interests, to defend your entitlements and rights. Its Board members are elected from your general assembly, and their efforts are for your benefits. The Trade union is yours. It is stronger with your support, and you become stronger with its existence. We always invite you to visit its offices whether in industrial zones or the main office in Amman. We also urge you to communicate with Union Committees at work sites. Please keep in touch with the trade union and benefit from training workshops and awareness raising seminars. Be positive by joining the trade union and participate in elections, events and activities. In case of emergency, or if you face any problem, do not hesitate to contact the trade union. Please share your ideas and thoughts, and follow the free newsletter to learn all updates of the Sector. Let’s work together to make our Sector better being in the field of wages, work conditions, work laws and legislations for the private and public interest, and to improve our National Economy.

Peace, Allah Mercy and Blessings of Be Upon You.

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