Campaign demands protection for migrant workers

Workers worker
Migrant laborers work in a construction site. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The National Campaign for the Alternative Labor Migration System released a statement on the economic rights of migrant workers in Jordan to underline its demand for the inclusion of all migrant workers in social security, freedom of movement, and financial independence of migrant workers.اضافة اعلان

The campaign demanded protection of migrant workers’ economic rights, related to a moratorium on the obligation of migrants to pay employment fees, the elimination of wage theft, forced labor and other issues.

It cited problems faced by migrant workers, such as their irregular employment through tourist visas, in addition to their exposure to human trafficking networks.

It stated that the working conditions that a migrant worker is forced into include slavery and long working hours. It said that may expose the worker to various risks, or health problems, considering that the laborer may not have health insurance, or if the work environment fails to follow standard public safety rules.

Mohammed Al-Ajmi, a Syrian sewer worker who has been working in Jordan for six years, said that because of his “urgent need to provide for my family, I took up a job with long working hours, and little pay”.

“It was the only option, and with time, I accepted this bitter reality,” he told Jordan News.

He pointed out that his “employer exploits him and the other workers, and pressures us to work more than the hours agreed upon, without paying us extra”.

Sayed Ismail, an Egyptian who works in the construction sector, said that he had a work contract in Jordan to work in his profession as an agricultural engineer.

“But when I arrived in Jordan, the agreement was broken,” he told Jordan News. Instead, he said he was forced to work in various construction sites under the contract he signed. He said that he and his colleagues are constantly exposed to high risks, and work in unsafe environment.

He noted that he also was obliged to pay a “particular amount, through an intermediary employment company, which promised me to secure a work permit for me in the agricultural sector”.

“Although it did not come true and (they) never honored the deal with me, I am forced to pay the full amount I owe to the company,” he said.

Rida El-Barashi, another Egyptian construction worker, told Jordan News that his need for money compelled him “to endure the worst conditions in the working environment”. He did not elaborate.

Head of the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions Mazen Al-Maaytah told Jordan News that “international agreements for migrant workers guarantee freedom of movement for the workers in all countries”.

He said the agreements also stipulate that foreign workers must be “treated like Jordanian workers in terms of the labor laws and legislation, involving them in social security and providing them with a decent work environment”.

He stressed the need to secure the “financial rights of the workers, such as the value of their wages, and to ensure that they receive their full financial dues, in addition to abolishing the sponsorship system that must be applied to migrant workers”.

He said that trade unions worldwide ”strive to achieve labor justice, and deal with the migrant workers with respect, according to humanitarian and professional foundations and standards”.

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