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Embassy of Jordan highlights Labor Improvements at MAGIC
Feb '08
Representatives of the Ministry of Labor for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan wrapped up several days of successful meetings and outreach with buyers and media designed to inform audiences about the unprecedented steps the Government of Jordan has taken over the past 18 months to improve labor compliance and administration. The meetings were held during MAGIC, a biannual fashion trade show that attracts over 100,000 attendees.

Buyers and the international community have been anxious to see how Jordan would respond to the allegations of labor violations that were first leveled against Jordan's apparel manufacturing industry in 2006 by the activist National Labor Committee (NLC).

Even the harshest critics admit, Jordan is handling the situation appropriately -- acting swiftly and decisively, and with a transparency that is surprising to skeptics.

"Everyone I spoke with seemed impressed with our action plan and the steps we've taken so far," said the Minister of Labor's advisor, Lejo Sibbel, who met with many of Jordan's key buyers and held a press conference during the Las Vegas event.

"Although not every allegation by the NLC proved accurate, the fact that Jordan has accepted responsibility for those that were accurate, and taken steps to remedy them, is paying great dividends with our buyers and I think increasing our credibility with the media."

Some of those steps included a 16 percent increase in the minimum wage for apparel workers, establishing a multi-language hotline to register and assist with worker complaints, improving the Ministry's ability to support factories in their own compliance efforts, and the launch earlier this month of the ILO Better Work Jordan Project - a broad initiative to improve compliance through public reporting and factory assessments.

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