Benefits for workers:The agreement will improve the working and living conditions of tens of thousands of workers and their families, namely by giving workers better representation through the union.
The union will have access to workers in all garment factories, where they can meet, discuss issues of concern, conduct elections, provide workers with information and awareness raising through posters and brochures in coordination with factories management.
The agreement defines what workers are entitled to in terms of wages, benefits, working hours, issues of occupational health and safety both at factories and dorms and promotes equal treatment of all workers.
‘’Workers were reluctant to work with unions in the past – due to fear of retaliation from employers. But now the union has access to factory workers and the workers see that the union is not working against the employers. We are trying to help them. We advise the workers on their rights and that way we help the employers too.’’ Mervat Abed al-Kareem al-Jamhawi, General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing.
The agreement establishes mechanisms for resolving disputes at both the factory and sectoral level by providing employers with an authorized and representative partner with whom to negotiate. It is anticipated that these mechanisms will help reduce the incidence of industrial action such as strikes.
Benefits for employers:
These conditions will give the sector a leg up by fostering a more positive working environment and creating labour peace, which will boost morale and productivity.
The agreement provides a greater degree of predictability for employers in such areas as wage, bonuses, and working hours thereby allowing employers to plan better.
The agreement gives the employers a partner to go to in case of dispute, such as strikes. The union is now committed to resolving these issues.
Through dialogue, negotiations and union-management committees, the interests of both workers and employers can be more effectively met.
The collective bargaining agreement is good for the garment sector because it will help to retain workers. A stable workforce enables factories to expand, to meet new demands for the American market, to increase their volume of production, and to plan for a more ambitious future. The Agreement facilitates long term-planning for the sector, and encourages the search for products with a greater value-added for Jordan and the ready-made garment sector.'' Farhan Ifram, the Vice President of the Jordan Garments, Accessories & Textile Exporters’ Association.
Twenty-four-year old Bangladeshi Noor Jihan moved to Jordan a year ago to work in a clothing factory in the industrial city of Sahab. Her employer provides food and board, which allows her to send about 150 US Dollars back home to her family. “I’ve worked in several countries, but last year I heard that many women from my country were moving to Jordan for work so I decided to do the same,” she said, adding she was compelled to begin working abroad after her father died in her early teens. “I had to help my mother take care of my seven siblings.”
Voices from a Factory:
Jihan is one of 55,000 migrants working in Jordan’s apparel sector. She says she is happy that a collective bargaining agreement was signed to define her rights as a worker in Jordan.
‘’The collective bargaining agreement makes clear how much we should get paid for overtime, our salaries, the food provided, and that we can join unions, so I’m happy with it. If the company follows the agreement, the future will be good.’’
Her employer, Ahmed, says the agreement will help create a balance between workers and their employers, giving hope to enhanced relations, and increased productivity.
‘’The agreement is very important because it has created a balance between the worker and the employer. Now there is a third party observing and helping to implement rights, demands and obligations. As long as the workers are happy production will improve. This will benefit us.”