Workers' centre in the Al-Hassan Industrial Zone, Jordan
Established in 1998, the Al-Hassan Industrial Zone in Jordan is home to 17,000 garment factory workers, nearly 80% of whom are migrant workers from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In 2013, Better Work Jordan - a joint initiative between the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation - helped establish a multi-purpose workers' centre in the industrial zone with the support of USAID, the Jordan Industrial Estates Corporation, the Irbid Chamber of Industry, apparel factories within the industrial zone, the General Trade Union for Garment and Textile Industries, the Jordan Garment, Accessories and Textiles Exporters Association, and international brands. As well as a computer room and gym, the centre also has a canteen, an outdoor sports area and classrooms offering English and IT courses. The thousands of workers employed in the industrial zone have access to legal advice and trade union support, and will soon have access to mental health counselling. Having put in place a sustainability plan, Better Work Jordan hopes the purpose-built facility will be able to sustain itself financially through worker membership fees, pay for service, and contributions from garment industry stakeholders, such as factories and brands. The fact that workers in the zone have a hands-on role in managing the centre will also contribute to its long-term sustainability. The Al-Hassan centre is a pilot project that will be replicated in industrial zones across Jordan.