It strives for an export-oriented Jordanian garment industry that lifts people out of poverty by providing decent work, empowering women and driving business competitiveness and inclusive economic growth.
Better Work Jordan works to strengthen the capacity of tripartite constituents – government, workers and employers – to fulfill their mandates in promoting decent work outcomes. As a first for Better Work, Better Work Jordan tested successfully an innovative labour inspection secondment programme to build the capacity of labour inspectors to conduct high quality inspections. In recent years, the programme has also worked with other technical teams within the ILO, including experts on occupational safety and health (OSH), to equip Ministry of Labor (MoL) inspectors with the tools, skills and knowledge to undertake factory assessments using Better Work methodology. This initiative resulted in the establishment of a dedicated Better Work Unit at the MoL tasked with conducting inspections in the garment, plastic, chemical and engineering sectors jointly with Better Work Jordan staff.
In its fourteen years of operations, the programme has made important strides in improving working conditions and industrial relations in Jordan’s manufacturing sector, with a focus on the garment industry. Over this period, the total value of Jordanian garment exports has doubled, and the number of jobs created in the sector has increased significantly despite the challenging operating environment in the region. Today, Better Work Jordan has six participating factories of which five are non-garment factories in the plastics, chemical and engineering sectors, reaching 21 brands and retailers.
As the programme enters its fourth phase, it aims to consolidate and expand on its achievements while simultaneously equipping the tripartite constituents in Jordan to take a leading role in maintaining and advancing these achievements. With migrants comprising a large majority of garment workers in Jordan, the programme will also continue to work with stakeholders to uphold migrant workers’ rights by tackling the issues of pay discrimination, living conditions in worker dormitories and deficient recruitment processes. Better Work Jordan’s future interventions to improve recruitment processes will involve new modes of cooperation with stakeholders in sending countries, including governments, worker organizations and other UN agencies.
Better Work Jordan launched a project in 2021 that aims at improving mental health of workers in the garment sector. The project is mainly centered on women and migrant workers as they form the majority of the workforce in the sector and face many psychical and psychological stressors. It focuses on building workers’ resilience against mental health risks, including through help-seeking, and on enhancing access to factory-level support and referral to specialized organizations. The project takes two main approaches to achieve its objective of improving workers’ mental wellbeing: (1) raising mental health awareness at organizational and individual levels; (2) devising and implementing a mental health policy on factory capacity building to develop a system that identifies, manages and refers mental health cases.