500 female workers to return from Jordan

November 29, 2011

All the 500 Bangladeshi female expatriates in Jordan, who have lost their jobs following the closure of a factory, are returning home as the Jordanian authorities have not allowed them to move to other factories.
Despite repeated requests the Jordanian labour department has not given permission for their transfer, according to the Bangladesh Embassy in Amman, the capital of Jordan.
“Nearly 400 workers have already left for home. The rest will be flying by the first week of December,” Bangladesh’s labour counsellor in Amman, Lubna Yasmin, told The Daily Star over the phone on Sunday.
Maintrend International that has shut down is providing the female workers with airfare, but not any compensation as they did not seek legal aid from the labour court in Jordan, she said.
However, more than 100 Bangladeshi male workers, who worked for the company for several years, might get compensation as they appealed to the court.
The female garment workers went to Jordan through state-owned recruiting agency Bangladesh Overseas Employment Services Limited (BOESL) only seven months ago.
BOESL agreed to arrange jobs for the returnees free of service charge whenever there is demand for new jobs in Jordan, said Lubna.
The management of the factory shut it down in the face of losses allegedly caused by a series of labour strikes protesting abuse.
Workers of the factory, including some Jordanians and Chinese, went on a month-long strike in mid-September. They protested against beatings, forced deportation when workers cannot reach mandatory production goals, filthy dorms, arbitrary wage cuts and limited access to toilet.
Between August 27 and October 20 last year, 241 Indian workers of the same company also observed a strike against the issues. The strike ended with a deal in which Maintrend International agreed to give each of the workers three and a half months’ pay, airfare to India, and compensation for unused leave.

-With The Daily Star input

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