USA : Labor & textile groups demand punitive measures against Jordon
September 22, 2006
Government has been urged by largest US labor organization and textile group to file complain against Jordon for its failure to check companies from exploiting their laborers and subsequently cheating them on wages.
Since free trade agreement was signed between the two nations in December, 2001, this is the first time any US business group has come together with labor demanding action under the treaty.
Explaining this, Karl Spilhaus, the President of National Textile Association said that it was not only the interest of labor to protect the workers’ rights around the world but US producers are aggrieved to see that crooked employers violate the workers rights abroad.
Spilhaus outlined this as the reason for his group’s joint appeal with AFL-CIO, America Union Movement for action against Jordon.
New York advocacy group, National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights in a report informed that tens of thousands of offshore workers working in Jordon’s textile sector are being made to work more than 100 hours a week and then they were being deprived of their salaries.
Jordon being a close partner has preferential access to US markets thanks to free trade agreement. US officials confirmed that they were going through appeal and would like to find a solution amicably.
Gretchen Hamel, spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative’s office informed that Jordon Government had taken the report very seriously and promised strict action against the errant employers. During talks with Jordon, senior USTR officials raised the issue, said Hamel.
90 percent of Jordan export to US consists of clothing valued at US $1.27 billion with main buyers including retailers like J.C. Penney, Sears, Wal-Mart and Target.
Sharif Zobi, Minister of Trade and industry in Jordon recently said that companies mishandling their workers have been asked to either change themselves or they will be thrown out.