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Trade unions federation issues freelance work permits to Syrians

Move seeks to organise work of refugees, reduce competition with Jordanian workers

By JT - Aug 05,2017 - Last updated at Aug 05,2017

AMMAN —  The General Federation of Jordan Trade Unions (GFJTU) has issued freelance work permits to Syrian migrant workers and refugees, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Saturday.

The agreement was approved by the GFJTU, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Ministry of Labour, said Mazen Maaitah, president of the GFJTU.

The decision came as a way to create job opportunities for Jordanians by preventing non-Jordanians, including migrant workers and Syrian refugees, from working in certain fields and competing with local workers, the president noted.

Maaitah pointed out that this decision highlighted the need for organising the work of refugees in Jordan by facilitating their access to professions that suffer from a decline in demand by the Jordanians, especially the construction and agriculture sectors. He said that, although Jordanian workers often refrain from working in those fields, Jordan is in need of manpower in these sectors to maintain the sustainability and implementation of development projects.

The federation president stated that the first work permit was issued on Saturday, in the construction sector under the umbrella of the GFJTU, allowing the Syrian worker to work and move from one place of work to another. 

He added that there will be coordination between the ILO and the ministry to include other labour sectors in order to facilitate the Syrians' access to work permits and to regulate their entrance into the labour market.

This step seeks to pave the way for the establishment of trade union committees for migrant workers and refugees to follow up on their affairs and provide them with an organisational cover in all governorates, in addition to their integration into the labour union's movement. 

The Coordinator of the Syrian Refugee Response Project at the ILO's Jordan office Maha Kattaa spoke on the importance of completing this important step in providing a legal framework for the work of migrant workers and refugees and ensuring that they are not exposed to issues in the sectors where they are allowed to work.

She added that this will not affect the job opportunities of Jordanians who will have equal opportunities to work in the construction sector. However, this step will help end the "exploitation of Syrian workers" by employers by offering them less unfair wages. 


An international expert on the issue of migrant workers and refugees in the Arab Confederation of Trade Unions, Mohamed Maayta, confirmed that a trade union committee will be formed to represent the workers in different parts of the Kingdom, and to provide health insurance policy.

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