AMMAN, Jordan, 19 December 2023 -The Better Work Jordan programme, in a joint effort with the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), recently conducted a meeting of stakeholders from Jordan’s garment industry. This meeting was a critical step in the discussions around a draft worker grievance mechanism, further aligning with the national agenda to elevate working conditions.
Key discussion points included the proposed procedures for submitting worker grievances, the influential role of the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment, and Clothing Industries (GTU), and the proactive involvement of the Jordanian Ministry of Labour’s (MoL) platform, “Hemaya”, in addressing and following up on grievances.
GTU President Fathallah Al Omrani reiterated the union’s “commitment to working alongside all relevant stakeholders and legal service providers to protect workers’ rights”. He emphasised “the necessity of a robust mechanism for resolving worker grievances and the crucial role of legal consultations in this process”.
The proposed grievance mechanism is designed to bolster existing national laws, including the Jordanian Labour Law, by establishing standard procedures that align with both international and national labour standards. It focuses particularly on addressing challenges such as tackling gender-based violence, enhancing work environments, safeguarding workers’ rights, and fostering healthy labour relations.
Under the draft mechanism, workers, either individually or as groups, can submit grievances to the union or the “Hemaya” platform. It also includes provision for referring grievances to external legal service providers, including civil society organisations, ensuring fair treatment for all complainants.
The MoL commended the creation of a unified grievance mechanism in the sector, a move that complements the “Hemaya” platform’s role. The ministry said it “plans to intensify collaborations with various stakeholders, including unions, to streamline complaint resolution through this platform, thereby uniting efforts toward this common goal”.
“Hemaya”, an electronic complaints platform, is dedicated to “upholding workers’ rights and obligations towards employers, while also ensuring the resilience and sustainability of private sector operations”.
The draft document highlighted the necessity of strengthening protection and prevention measures across different grievances at a national level. This includes maintaining confidentiality and privacy among service providers and ensuring accountability.
Discussions at the meeting also centred on simplifying grievance referral processes, enhancing awareness of complaint submission procedures, and clarifying the responsibilities of entities handling these complaints.
A key recommendation from the meeting was to initiate comprehensive training programmes for middle management in garment factories. The inaugural training session is scheduled for December 20, 2023. Monthly training sessions for union representatives, labour inspectors, and middle management are also planned, coupled with a communication strategy to efficiently inform workers about the grievance mechanism.
The meeting also advised organising a separate session with the embassies of migrant workers’ countries to explore their roles in managing complaints and grievances.
The 95 garment factories under the Better Work Jordan umbrella employ 78,617 workers, with migrants comprising three-quarters of this workforce and Jordanians the remaining quarter. Notably, women represent approximately 75 per cent of the production workforce.
In collaboration with all stakeholders, a trial implementation of the draft grievance mechanism is proposed, with refinements to be made based on the feedback from workers and employers.
The GTU plans to initiate an awareness campaign aimed at educating garment workers on standard grievance handling procedures. This campaign is designed to empower workers, providing them with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively voice their concerns and complaints.
According to the 2023 annual report of Better Work Jordan, 22 per cent of factories lack effective grievance handling processes. In contrast, factories with established dialogue and grievance mechanisms are more adept at pre-emptively addressing worker concerns, thereby fostering a more productive and harmonious work environment.