Union calls for hiking allowance for tourism workers

(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — The General Trade Union for Public Services, Free Vocations, Communications and Information Technology called for the need to raise the service charge for tourism workers on grounds that it is an acquired right.اضافة اعلان

The call followed a drop in the percentage, which was cut by half from 10 to 5 percent in the wake of a government decision at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to alleviate the economic burden on the owners of tourist facilities.

“The service charge in the tourism sector is part and parcel of the worker’s monthly salary,” union president Khaled Abu Marjoub told Jordan News.

He said: “It is a legitimate right of workers, under a decision by the Legislation and Opinion Bureau.”

“It is an integral part of the monthly wage of workers, and must not be reduced, to preserve the workers’ wages,” he pointed out.

Abu Marjoub stressed the importance of implementing the old decision, and keeping the employees’ salaries as they were pre-pandemic “to improve the living conditions of these workers”.

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities figures showed that the number of workers in hotels is about 20,000, with at least 18,000 of them being Jordanians.

Abdul Hakim Al-Hindi, head of the Jordan Hotel Association, said that the service allowance is an acquired right for workers in the tourism and hotel sector by virtue of a decision issued by the Minister of Tourism in 1996. “It motivates workers in hotels and restaurants,” he explained.

He said that the 10 percent was deducted from visitors frequenting these establishments. It was divided between the facility and the worker, so that 7 percent goes to the worker, compared to 3 percent that goes for hotel establishments, he added.

“The decision remained as such until the beginning of 2020, and continued during the pandemic, and the decisions that followed,” he said. “However, the government reduced the value to 5 percent instead of 10 percent.”

“Workers had to accept it despite the negative impact it bore on workers in the sector,” he added.

He said that following the pandemic and the sector’s recovery, “we hope that the percentage rises again to 10 percent”.

He pointed out that the union, since the beginning of the year, demanded that the percentage be restored to the previous level, without linking it to the sales tax, which was halved to 8 percent.

Mohammad Al-Balawneh, a 33 years old restaurant worker for six years, said workers’ salaries before the pandemic “were much better”.

“After cutting the service charge, the salary eroded,” he pointed out.

“We need a financial support to fulfill our obligations, one that would encourage us to provide better services to clients,” he said.

“Before the pandemic, my salary was JD400, but it’s JD360 now,” he said. “Recently, I started to look for jobs abroad, and applied in one of the Gulf countries in search of a better income.” 

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