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Boycott campaign threatens jobs, over 5,000 employees at risk of termination — official

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Nov 29,2023 - Last updated at Nov 30,2023

photo courtesy of unsplash.com

AMMAN — Over 5,000 employees are currently facing the imminent threat of contract termination due to the ongoing boycott campaign, according to an official.

The boycott campaign, which has taken an unexpected turn, is currently not only impacting consumer choices but also posing a serious risk to the livelihoods of the local workforce, according to officials, who called on consumers to make “aware” decisions and to investigate the companies they are boycotting to ensure they are not inadvertently supporting the Israeli occupation.

An official from the food production workers union, who preferred to remain unnamed, told The Jordan Times that over 15,000 employees work in the food production industry.

 “Over 5,000 are facing threats of contract termination and many international companies have declared that they will terminate contracts if the campaign continues,” he said.

“The threat of contract termination for over 5,000 employees is not only an economic concern but also a threat to the social fabric of our local communities.”

“I call for an urgent meeting between all stakeholders. The government, the Jordan Chamber of Industry, and representatives from international companies need to come together to address the challenges faced by the local workforce.”

He also said that one company terminated 500 contracts on Tuesday. “Companies are terminating contracts based on Article 31 of the labour law, which stipulates that companies downsizing and restructuring do not require paying terminated employees and salaries in advance. Furthermore, local companies do not have the capabilities to employ all employees in international companies, he said.

“We are urging all concerned parties to sit down and negotiate. What is happening can leave a disastrous impact on our local economy.”

The official also voiced concerns about the lack of incentives in local companies compared with their counterparts in international companies. 

“This stark contrast in benefits will create an unsettling atmosphere within the local business community as employees fear the potential economic fallout on their families and communities, raising questions about the long-term stability of their employment.” 

In response to the economic crisis spurred by the boycott, Ahmad Awad, a labour rights activist, emphasised the need for immediate government intervention. 

“Recently, there has been observed a shift in boycott campaigns towards randomness and unfair competition, “Awad said. 

“Some individuals are sliding into expanding the scope of accusations to target international and local brands and companies under the pretext of supporting the [Israeli] occupation without any evidence.”

He also explained that the boycott campaign has “become a tool for purely commercial speculation rather than taking a stance on the issue of the Israeli aggression on Gaza”.

Awad urged the government to take a “decisive” action, proposing the provision of investment loans for companies to rebrand and continue operating in the market. 

He said that local companies might not be able to absorb all the employees who lose their jobs due to the boycott, underlying the need for innovative solutions to protect both jobs and the economy.

Economist Hussam Ayesh also underlined the need for the government’s  intervention to navigate the economic crisis arising from the boycott. 

“The government should consider providing investment loans to affected companies, enabling them to rebrand and sustain operations in the market. This proactive approach will not only safeguard jobs but also stimulate economic resilience in the face of the current challenges,” Ayesh told The Jordan Times. 

Ayesh pointed out that expecting local companies to absorb all employees losing their jobs due to the boycott may not be realistic. “Innovative solutions, such as investment support, are crucial to preventing widespread economic fallout. The government must act swiftly to protect both the workforce and the overall economy,” said Ayesh. 

“Employees are the victims to this challenge, we need to employ all necessary tools to support employees and our local economy,” he said. 

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