Legislation, unions blamed by some for the decline of labor movement

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Jordan Labor Watch, a program by the Phenix Economic and Informatics Studies, has gone on record blaming legislation and trade unions for being the reason for the decline of the Jordanian labor movement. اضافة اعلان

Hatem Qtaish, publisher of Jordan Labor Watch, told Jordan News that workers’ representation has been limited due to the shortcomings of the Labor Law and Social Security Corporation (SSC) Law.

Freelance and day-to-day workers were excluded from the benefits and protections the SSC law grants, Qtaish said.

“As for the Jordanian Labor Law, the latest amendments removed the right to collective bargaining for workers’ representatives and restricted it to general unions only,” he said.

“For example, in any institution that does not have a union, workers’ representatives used to have the right to bargain in the name of the workers, but the recent amendments restricted labor disputes to the ministry and to unions only,” he elaborated.

Qtaish pointed out that there are only 17 trade unions in Jordan, a “number that needs to be expanded because there are new sets of workers entering the labor market”.

“The fact that we have only one union for all the food industry does not make any sense, and workers in the telecommunication sector have to join the General Services Union, and as such, this union can never reflect the true demands of workers in that specific sector,” Qtaish said.

“Of the 17 unions, only one held elections, while the others appointed their boards by acclamation,” he added.

Mazen Maaitah, president of the General Federation of Jordan Trade Unions (GFJTU), told Jordan News that the term trade union expired in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and that defense orders prevented unionists from holding fresh elections, for health reasons. However, almost 70 percent of the appointed union heads were replaced.

“Over the last 10 years, the trade unions have managed to meet 1.8 million workers’ demands, such as for pay raises, insurance, and more,” Maaitah said.

“We also negotiated almost 950 collective agreements with employers,” Maaitah said.

“As for the SSC’s role during the pandemic, it strived to include most workers in different protection plans, but we definitely hope to include all workers in the future,” Maaitah added.

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