AMMAN — The clothing and footwear
sector in Jordan is facing significant challenges, including declining interest
from buyers, job losses, and salary reductions for workers.
The challenges are multi-fold, and
chief among them is the gender pay disparity, long working hours, and a lack of
health insurance and social security, the Jordan Labor Watch reported.
Due to a lack of regulation on
e-commerce, increase tax burdens on the sector, and declining purchasing,
nearly 68,000 workers are at risk of losing their jobs completely or taking a
cut to their salaries.
Jordan’s unemployment in the third
quarter of 2022 was 32.1 percent, according to the Department of Statistics.
‘Limited’According to Sultan Allan, president
of the Textile and Readymade Clothes Syndicate, the challenges facing the
sector have led to the dismissal of a large number of employees in the last
He explained that the union is
trying to find solutions to the challenges, but its capacity is limited.
“I am a university student who was
working on public holidays to compensate for the two days I go to university.”
The number of clothing, fabric, and
shoe stores in Jordan is estimated to be around 13,800 stores, and the number
of employees in these stores is estimated to be around 68,000 workers and
The percentage of workers that are unregistered
in social security is estimated to be around 40 percent.
Allan claims that 98 percent of the workers
in the sector are Jordanian, with the remainder consisting of migrant laborers
who work in loading and unloading.
Pay, he said, is not always
proportional to the number of hours worked, and that both employees and
employers alike demand shorter hours and more breaks.
In order to improve the sector, it
is proposed that regulations be put in place to ensure equality between parcel
and e-commerce shopping, as well as to link seasonal sales to shopping
Stuck between underpaid and unemployedMariam, a 22-year-old university
student, used to work at a shoe store in Irbid’s Bukhariya Market, but she had
to leave her job two months ago for several reasons, including a decrease in
her salary and long working hours.
She received a monthly salary of JD240
and worked 10 hours a day.
Mariam had no social protections: no
health insurance or social security.
“I am a university student who was
working on public holidays to compensate for the two days I go to university,”
she said. And while her salary was once able to cover a semester of tuition
fees, it was cut by JD40 to become JD200.
This caused Mariam to leave her job,
which she had held for two years, and look for another to try and secure her
“Many people are now unemployed. We used to be seven people working in the shop, and now our number has decreased to only three.”
Stuck between being underpaid and
unemployed, Mariam said she had to endure verbal harassment from her boss and
sexual harassment while being going to and from work, so she decided to quit.
A study by the Phenix Center for
Economic and Informatics Studies revealed in November 2021 that around 10
percent of women who have withdrawn from work have done so because of sexual
harassment, or fear of being subjected to it.
On creditThurath Al-Samadi has been working
at a clothing store in Ajloun for seven years and is worried about losing his
job due to the difficult conditions.
“More than 10 shops have closed
their doors, and there are many who intend to close,” he said.
“Many people are now unemployed. We
used to be seven people working in the shop, and now our number has decreased
to only three.”
His salary has decreased from JD300
to JD260, and he still works from 8am to 4pm with one day off a week.
He has a family of eight and is
responsible for their expenses, but his salary is not enough to cover his
monthly expenses, so he has to buy on credit.
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