Strengthening ties: Swiss government delegates visit Better Work Jordan garment factories
7 May 2018.
Irbid, Jordan – Better Work Jordan accompanied a Swiss delegation to factories in Al-Hassan Industrial Zone, Irbid on Monday May 7, 2018. Representing the delegation was Mr. Raymund Furrer, Ambassador and Delegate of the Swiss Government for Trade Agreements, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); Mr. Hanspeter Wyss, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; and Ms. Aya Maraqa, Regional Program Officer at the Swiss Cooperation Office in the Embassy of Switzerland.
The aim of the visit was to learn more about the current state of the garment industry in Jordan, key changes and developments, labour conditions, and remaining challenges. During a packed two-hour trip, the delegates drove to the hilly town of Irbid and visited two factories, namely Classic Fashion Apparel Industry Ltd. Co. and Century Miracle Jordan, located in Al-Hassan Industrial Zone. Better Work Jordan shared information about its role and current activities, including steps taken to ensure compliance of factories engaged with the programme and efforts to further improve working conditions. The delegation and Better Work Jordan also discussed possible future strategies for the programme to address remaining issues in the sector. Mr. Furrer, Ambassador and Delegate of the Swiss Government for Trade Agreements, SECO said, “This trip has allowed us to see Better Work’s value-add in person and strengthen our ties with our partners here in Jordan.”
Switzerland has been a core donor of Better Work since 2009, helping the programme grow to reach some 1,500 clothing and footwear factories and more than two million workers across four continents.
The Secretariat for Economic Affairs is the Swiss federal government’s center of expertise for all core issues relating to economic policy. Its aim is to ensure sustainable economic growth by putting the necessary regulatory and economic policy conditions in place. The organization is a major supporter of the Better Work programme globally as part of a four-year investment plan, which aims to help Better Work continue its mission to provide decent working conditions, drive business competitiveness, and encourage economic participation in the global garment industry.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation is an office-level agency in the federal administration of Switzerland, and a part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
“The visit of these two factories enabled us to have a better view on the work ILO has been doing with projects funded by Switzerland,” shared Mr. Hanspeter Wyss, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Ms. Aya Maraqa, National Program Officer at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, added, “It is great to see the development of the garment sector in Jordan and the improvement on workers’ conditions which was contributed to by Better Work Jordan.”
The embassy of Switzerland in Jordan is responsible for coordinating all local activities pertaining to Swiss agencies.
On the occasion, Mr. Tareq AbuQaoud, Programme Manager at Better Work Jordan, a joint programme between the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation shared, “SECO’s commitment to Better Work will help us promote decent working conditions for all in addition to sustaining jobs, which will make the business more profitable.”