Since 2009, Better Work Jordan (BWJ) has joined forces with workers, employers and the government to improve working conditions and boost the competitiveness of the garment industry.
Today Jordan’s garment industry accounts for 17% of the country’s exports, with a value of over USD1.5 billion in 2015, more than double the USD700 million of 2007. In July 2011, the Ministry of Labour made enrolment in BWJ mandatory for factories and subcontractors exporting to the US and Israel. Since the U.S. market alone represents 95% of the sector’s exports, the programme has effectively become industry wide.
Jordan’s garment sector is made up of 73 factories, 35 of which are directly exporting, 26 subcontractors and 12 satellite units – branches of large companies scattered across the country’s rural areas to boost local employment. Most apparel factories are situated in 13 Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs), the three largest being located in Jordan’s towns of Dulyal, Sahab and outside the country’s second largest city of Irbid. Around 75% of the workforce is composed of migrant workers, most of them from South and South-East Asia.