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Unacceptable work conditions

Oct 08,2018 - Last updated at Oct 08,2018

According to the Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies in cooperation with the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation, work conditions in Jordan remain "far from decent work standards" in terms of availability of employment opportunities, fairness of wages or security of tenure.

The study in question was conducted on the occasion of the World Day for Decent Work, which is held annually by the International Trade Union Confederation on October 7. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), decent work calls for a fair income, security in the workplace, social protection for families of workers and equal work opportunities for men and women.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights calls on state parties to provide their citizens with fair wages to enable them to enjoy decent living conditions and earn enough wages for an adequate standard of living.

The centre’s study found that there has been a "significant" decline in the number of work availability in Jordan in recent times and that only 50,000 work opportunities were created in 2016 but no data was available for 2017. Unemployment, however, stood at 18.7 per cent during the second quarter of 2018.

In a nutshell, the study had reached the conclusion that the unacceptable work conditions in the country are due to high tax burdens, coupled with high productions costs and structural imbalances in the labour market. It was also found that low wages dominate the employment situation in the country with 47 per cent of workers in the formal economy are earning less than JD400 per month.

Another grave problem that the study found was the low number of workers who are unionised. Only five per cent of Jordanian workers are unionised, something that may explain their unfair wages and lack of work security.

The government should take these findings into consideration when adopting the new taxation structure for the country, especially about the impact of heavy tax burdens on the rights of workers to a decent standard of living.

Relaxing the law on union rights is also something that the government is invited to revisit in order to comply with ILO standards. Jordan can no longer sustain the image of denying its workers decent or adequate working conditions with full respect for gender equality. The concerned authorities need to take the study of the Phenix centre very seriously and take measures to comply with its recommendations.

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