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Work Stoppage Ends at Mediterranean Factory in Jordan

September 10, 2008  |  Share

In a sign of good faith, the foreign guest workers at the Mediterranean factory in Jordan ended their work stoppage today and returned to the plant.  They did so based on a guarantee from the factory owner that he would respond to the workers demands seriously and "with sympathy."

The workers demands are straightforward and amount to no more than a commitment by factory management to respect Jordan's labor laws.

1.) The workers are willing to compromise with management and agree to a 10 JD ($14.12) deduction per month for food, contingent upon working overtime.  If there is no overtime work in a given month, the deduction will not apply.  (In the past, management has unilaterally and illegally deducted 30 JD ($42.37) per month from the workers' wages.  In August, management wanted to increase the deduction to $49.43, which led to the work stoppage.)

2.) All regular and overtime wages, including holidays, must be correctly paid according to Jordanian labor law.  (The legal minimum wage is 110 JD per month, $155.36, which amounts to 75 cents an hour and $35.85 for the regular 48-hour work week.  All weekday overtime must be paid at a 125 percent premium, or 93 cents per hour, while work on the weekly day off or on national holidays must be compensated at a 50 percent premium, or $1.12 per hour.)  The past practice of forced overtime without pay must cease.

3.) The most abusive supervisors—who have threatened, cursed at and at times even beaten the workers—must be terminated, in particular, plant manager Mr. Madhu and floor supervisor, Mr. Ranjit.

4.) Workers should not be arbitrarily transferred from their work stations or in any way demoted or punished without cause.

5.) Medical care must be free of charge, as guaranteed in the contracts the workers purchased to come to Jordan.

6.) When the workers three-year contracts are complete, management must pay all back wages, benefits and Social Security deductions legally due them and provide them with free airfare to return to their countries.  If a worker is asked to remain after their contract is up, they should be provided with at least another one-year contract.

The workers have again raised very disturbing allegations regarding the role of Ministry of Labor Inspector, Dr. Amin, who on several occasions apparently instructed the workers to accept the wage deductions management was offering or else face deportation.  Dr. Amin's role should be to impartially implement Jordan's labor laws, and not act solely as a proponent of management.  Dr. Amin's actions during the strike should be investigated and corrected if any wrongdoing has occurred.

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