Exterior of free-trade zone factory in Jordan.
October 17, 2008: The most recent chapter in the saga of the W&D Apparel workers in Jordan is unfolding. This latest group of young women, who number over 100, stopped work in protest of 14-hour days and wage cuts, but went back on the job because it seemed no one cared.
Part of the problem seems to be the factory owner’s effective strategy of isolating the workers from the outside world. The workers’ movements are severely limited. More importantly, management has cut them off from communication to the extent that they had to borrow a cell phone in order to talk with their parents and other relatives back in Vietnam.
On the up side, those parents and relatives are now organizing to petition the Vietnamese government. Their demands are similar to the ones of the first batch of W&D workers, who managed to return home this summer with the help of pressure from the international community, including readers of this blog. But this time around, the sweatshop management seems determined to make the struggle even harder.
Please follow developments as they unfold here on this blog, and be ready to call or write to those who can influence the outcome of this battle. We will shortly inform you of the pivotal people to whom you can voice your concern.