(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights has reported violations of guest workers' rights at a garment factory in El Hassan Industrial Estate, and the government said they are looking into the allegations.
The report, issued late last week, claimed that hundreds of guest workers at the Rich Pine garment factory in Irbid were forced to meet high production quotas, requiring them to work additional hours without getting a fair price rate per piece.
"The workers cannot dare question management, let alone negotiate for a better piece rate. This is a top-down system where guest workers have no voice. When management encourages workers to work through part of their breaks, they do it," the report said.
"There is enormous pressure on the guest workers. If workers fall behind in production, the minute their contract is up, they will be fired and forcibly deported back to China or Bangladesh," added the report.
Fathallah Emrani, president of the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries, told The Jordan Times yesterday that the union had not received any complaints from the workers.
"We are going to visit the factory in the next few days to check on the workers' grievances. However, as long as they have never complained to the union, we are powerless and cannot probe the allegations," Emrani said.
He argued that it is not the union's job to look into any violations to the workers' financial claims, stressing that the labour ministry can inquire through its labour inspectors, who have the legal jurisdiction to inspect the workers' payroll database at the factory.
Emrani noted that although the permitted number of overtime hours is governed by labour regulations and should not exceed four hours, even with the workers' approval, if the workers willingly accept working longer than the legal limit the union cannot interfere as long as their employer is paying them fairly.
In a statement to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the labour ministry said it is studying the report and will take action accordingly, stressing that the factory's history does not show any previous violations of the rights of its employers.
The US-based watchdog's report added that when they were recruited, the guest workers were told they would receive free healthcare.
"There is a medical office at Rich Pine with a doctor and nurse, but what comes free are the cheapest non-prescription medicines, such as aspirin. Workers needing serious medical attention or prescription drugs are on their own; what they can afford is what they will get," the report added.
The institute called on the factory's management to implement worker's rights standards, immediately start giving them one day off each week, and stop pressuring them to work off the clock and without pay.
The report also recommended that production quotas be reduced and explained clearly to the workers, who should also have their own input.