Better Work was established in Jordan in 2008 to improve the competitiveness of Jordan’s garment industry by enhancing economic performance at the enterprise level and improving compliance with Jordanian labour law and the principles of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work on an industry-level. By 2022, Better Work Jordan aims to transfer over core service delivery (assessment, training and advisory visits) to the tripartite partners. These include the government (Ministry of Labor), the employers association (J-Gate) and the workers association (the Garment Trade Union). In addition to delegating core service delivery, Better Work Jordan also seeks to build up institutions and practices for continued and sustainable improvements in the sector. Going forward, the GTU will be the primary group advocating on behalf of garment workers.
The Garment Trade Union (GTU) represents all workers in the sector and is responsible for negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). However, the union is currently limited in their ability to reach workers because the union leadership is (by law) all Jordanian, whereas 75 percent of workers in the industry are migrants. Migrants can join the union, but their participation and engagement with the union is limited. There are several barriers to migrant workers participating in the Union, including legal barriers, language barriers, cultural barriers, and logistical barriers. In particular, migrants typically come to Jordan to work for around three years and then return to their home countries. BWJ is working to support the union in their outreach to migrant workers but more research is needed about how migrant workers and the union currently interact as well as recommendations for improving representation within the current legal framework. The overall objective of the project is to increase understanding of the key challenges the union faces in representing national and migrant workers and study ways in which the union can be inclusive of migrant workers in Jordan’s garment industry within the current legal framework