Jordan seals commitment to implementing unified contract for migrant garment workers

Jordan stakeholders sign a landmark commitment to implement the unified contract by the beginning of 2016.

News | 10 December 2015
Jordan’s stakeholders sign the guidelines for the implementation of a new unified contract for the garment migrant workers. Front row from left to right: Fathallah al Omrani, Dina Khayyat, Mohammad Hijjawi; back row: left to right: Tareq Abu Qaoud, Abdallah Al Jbour. December 10, Amman.
© Elisa Oddone/Better Work Jordan

Amman (ILO News)—Jordan’s main apparel employer associations and the country’s garment union signed an addendum to the sector’s Collective Bargaining Agreement in Amman on Thursday (10 December) endorsing a new unified contract for migrant workers in Jordan’s garment sector, in a further step towards harmonising recruitment and employment policies among different migrant worker nationalities in the country.


“The unified contract showed another success for the national constituents in the garment sector and their commitment to promoting social dialogue,” said Tareq Abu Qaoud, the ILO’s Better Work Jordan (BWJ) programme manager. “The contract will help workers get a better understanding of their employment conditions before leaving their own countries to work in Jordan.”


Facilitated by the ILO and supported by BWJ, the contract will help end the practice of some migrant garment workers signing multiple contracts in their home country, and then signing different contracts when they arrive in Jordan. The contract will also give them a clearer understanding of their employment conditions.


“This is a huge accomplishment for Jordan, not only for the garment sector, as it can be implemented by other sectors and also outside Jordan,” said Dina Khayyat, President of the Jordan Garments, Accessories and Textiles Exporters' Association (JGATE). “We will try to oblige all the employers in the sector to implement the contract starting next month.”


Announced earlier this year, the contract is one of the main provisions of a sector-wide collective bargaining agreement signed in 2013 between the Jordan Garments, Accessories & Textiles Exporters’ Association, the Association of Owners of Factories, Workshops and Garments, and the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment & Clothing Industries. In 2015, a new two-year collective bargaining agreement for the garment sector was negotiated with the support of BWJ.


“This is a very important step for the country,” said Abdallah al Jbour, Director of Labour Inspection at Jordan’s Ministry of Labour. “We need the cooperation of all parties to defeat the existence of multiple different contracts for the migrant workers. Any complaint or violation will be investigated by the Ministry’s inspectors.”


The sector employs approximately 40,000 migrant workers, the majority of whom originate from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. 


Fathallah al Omrani, President of the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries said that the sector was finally grasping the fruits that the parties have been working on for years.


“This the result of a long dialogue among all stakeholders and, at the end, it involves how we want this sector to grow, develop while enforcing the law,” Omrani said.