ILO Celebrates fourth anniversary of the Middle East’s first migrant garment workers’ center

As part of ILO’s efforts to ensure access to adequate services for migrant workers, the unique center provides its members with their own space where they can pursue recreational and other activities, in the Irbid governorate in Jordan.

Press release | 02 March 2018
IRBID, Jordan (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) celebrated four years since opening the doors of the Workers’ Center of Al Hassan Industrial Estate in Jordan’s Irbid governorate.

As part of ILO’s efforts to ensure access to adequate services for migrant workers, the Workers’ Center provides its members with a space where migrant garment factory workers can socialize and have access to a variety of recreational activities, sign up to classes to learn a new skill, and benefit from health care and legal aid.

Since its inception, the center has grown in terms of membership and the services provided to migrant garment workers. The center has helped many migrant workers gain the confidence they need to step forward and voice their concerns and explain the challenges they face. The ILO initiative is governed by the Workers’ Center Association, comprised of worker, employer and government representatives.

“It is important for us to make sure that migrant workers are aware of their rights, and that they have access to legal aid and advice when they need it,” said ILO Country Coordinator for Jordan Patrick Daru. “We work closely with all the partners and stakeholders to guarantee that migrant workers operate in a safe environment, and that their rights, dignity and wellbeing are safeguarded,” Daru added.

The ILO established this first-of-its-kind initiative in the Arab States region in partnership with Jordanian Ministry of Labour, and with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

“Migrant workers work very hard, they earn little, and they are far from their families and their countries,” said Swiss Ambassador to Jordan Hans-Peter Lenz. “Switzerland is committed to ensuring that their experience abroad is a positive one, for themselves, their families, their countries, as well as for Jordan. With its legal services, recreational facilities, and opportunities to learn new skills, this Workers’ Center is really key for making that happen,” Lenz continued.

Facilities at the 1300- square meter, single-story building currently include an advocacy office, a medical counselling room, a canteen and recreational activities space, a computer lab, a gym and dance studio, two classrooms, two multipurpose rooms, and a hair salon.

The ILO plans is to replicate this model in the industrial zones in Dulayl and Al Tajamouat, based on the viability of the pilot center at Al Hassan industrial Zone, with the potential to expand more broadly thereafter.

From the onset of the project, emphasis was placed on promoting workers’ ownership of the center, as well as on sustainability through charging affordable fees for services so that it becomes self-sufficient in the future.

For further details, please contact:

Hélène Bohyn - Workers' Center Project Coordinator, bohyn@ilo.org, +962 792985908