As the Government of Jordan acted promptly to limit the spread of the coronavirus with a country-wide lock down, including closure of all factories, Better Work Jordan has been working to guarantee the safety and well being of the tens of thousands of garment workers employed in the industry.
Meanwhile, production has been stopped until further notice across all of the country’s factories, leading workers to halt their activities and stick to the coronavirus containment measures.
Over 76,000 workers make up the garment sector in Jordan— the majority of whom are migrant workers from South and Southeast Asia.
The program has distributed materials in multiple languages including Arabic, English, Bangla, Sinhala, Hindi, Filipino and Chinese in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour across different economic sectors including the programme’s participating factories that employs over 76,000 workers — the majority of whom are migrant workers from South and Southeast Asia.
The programme has been in direct contact with migrant garment workers living in housing units located in the proximities of Jordan’s industrial parks. Here, up to eight workers of different nationalities live in each room, meaning stringent hygienic conditions are key to avoid possible infection. In collaboration with local stakeholders, BWJ has also been monitoring the condition of Jordanian garment workers across the country throughout the lockdown.
Bangladeshi workers make up over half of the foreign workforce employed in the garment sector in Jordan, which also include Indian, Sri Lankan and Nepali citizens. Bilingual Better Work team members have been making regular phone calls to migrant worker representatives inside factory dormitories. Conversations in native languages are a crucial opportunity to raise workers’ awareness about the risks linked to the coronavirus outbreak, share hygiene information, and discuss mental health issues related to isolation, loneliness, and worries about family and friends.
Better Work is also working closely with national stakeholders to make sure workers receive their wages throughout the lockdown, Digital payment method will be tested for disbursing salaries and remit migrant workers’ salaries to home countries.
Meanwhile, the government will begin to resume operations in ten garment factories for the manufacturing of face masks, allowing only ten workers on each plant’s production line.
Better Work staff are now offering their advisory services to factories through video calls. Measures taken by the clothing plants to protect their workers, both across dormitories and the factory floor, have become the main focus of the programme.
Several factories have also conducted comprehensive sanitisations of their premises, information campaigns among their workforce about the COVID-19 infection and the situation across the country, while collecting disinfectants and food for those residing in their premises.
Better Work will continue its efforts with national stakeholders during this emergency situation in the country to guarantee the workers’ health and financial protection throughout the pandemic.