I was glad to learn that Jordan’s Ministry of Labor has come out and admitted that there are violations of workers’ rights in the kingdom’s QIZ-based factories in a report prompted by the release of the National Labor Committee’s report. To be frank, I expected the ministry to brush off the allegations and pretend all was well at the factories. I was mistaken, as evidenced in their report quoted here by The Jordan Times:

"Violations do exist in some factories in terms of overtime hours. Workers work above the legal maximum and they are not paid according to the legal overtime, which is 125 per cent of the hourly wage. In addition, some establishments do not observe the official holidays/weekends in terms of wage calculation for these days, while several establishments do not comply with social security laws and, instead, deduct the employers’ contribution from the workers’ wages," according to the report. The ministry’s inspectors also found that some QIZ establishments employ migrant workers without work permits or with expired work permits.

However, according to The Jordan Times, the ministry said some of the allegations found in the NLC report were unfounded.

For example, it claimed that in the Indian factory, Al Safa, a 20-year-old Bangladeshi female worker hanged herself in the toilet because the factory manager raped her. "The forensic report said she was not raped," the ministry’s report said, adding that in many of the factories in question, child labor, seven-day working weeks and physical abuse allegations were not verified.

I think this is a step in the right direction. The ministry has indeed confirmed the existence of such violations, which will hopefully prompt an improvement in the status of workers soon.