Better Work Jordan
Better Work Jordan strives to accelerate improvements in the working conditions and business competitiveness of Jordan’s garment industry as well as the exporting industrial sector at large. The project strategy is two-tiered: the factory level and the institutional and policy level. At the factory level, it delivers an integrated service model to improve working conditions and business competitiveness, and at the institutional and policy level, it works with national tripartite partners – i.e., government, trade union, and employer organizations – to inform and strengthen domestic laws and institutions.
Over the past 20 years, Jordan’s garment industry has emerged as a critical node in the global apparel supply chain. In 2019, garments and related exports were valued at over US$1.9 billion and accounted for about 23% of the country’s total exports. As of October 2019, according to Ministry of Labor (MOL) data the exporting garment industry employed over 76,220 workers. Approximately 75% of these jobs are filled by foreign workers from South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal and the vast majority of workers in the sector are female. The demography of the workforce in Jordan’s garment sector has created unique challenges and many of these workers remain legally and economically vulnerable. Although forced labor, recruitment practices and the conditions of work have improved in recent years, there are still significant gaps in labor law compliance. The United States (US) continued to be Jordan’s largest garment export market due to the established Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
The program strategy is based on a theory of change for Jordan’s exporting industrial sector that lifts people out of poverty by providing decent work, empowering women, and driving business competitiveness and economic growth. Better Work Jordan’s interventions aim to impact more than 65,000 workers and their family members, lifting them out of poverty through decent work and empowering women, and through achieving business competitiveness which contributes to inclusive economic growth. The direct recipients of BWJ’s services and technical assistance are individual factories and employer organizations, workers and their organizations, and government agencies. The project has three expected outcomes: 1) core service delivery expanded and optimized; 2) strengthened national institutions; and 3) sustainable mechanisms for policy reform in Jordan’s garment sector established.
BWJ has helped build the capacity of national stakeholders, including labor inspectors. Stakeholders report a change in mentality and working methods, more oriented to workers’ well-being. A decrease in the number of complaints, work-related injuries and disputes has been reported as a result of BWJ’s compliance improvement efforts. Read the story, Working Hand in Hand: labour inspectors and Better Work Haiti strengthen partnership during the pandemic.