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Centre denounces ‘unfair, unequal’ socio-economic system in Jordan

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Feb 23,2018 - Last updated at Feb 23,2018

AMMAN — The Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies on Tuesday issued a statement calling for a “fair and satisfactory working environment for all Jordanians”, demanding the establishment of measures aimed at “guaranteeing access to social protection for all workers”.

“The recent economic and tax policies implemented by the government will negatively affect social justice in Jordan and deepen the levels of social inequality,” Phenix Centre Director Ahmad Awad told The Jordan Times, noting that “these measures will put pressure on social and economic stability in Jordan”.

Released on the occasion of the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice, the statement referred to the discussion on the temporary amended Labour Law of 2010 that is currently taking place at the Lower House Labour Committee, as “an opportunity to modify the law towards the promotion of social justice by improving working conditions and guaranteeing the freedom of trade unions”.

Regarding insurance coverage, the organisation pointed out that “although the provisions of the Social Security Law are in line with international standards, the healthcare of retirees is still not guaranteed and several labour sectors remain uncovered by any insurance system,” highlighting the situation of employees involved in the ever-growing informal sector”.

The statement criticised the “weak” enforcement of the legal labour framework, noting that a significant amount of employees receive monthly wages “way below” the minimum JD220, while most of the workers receive their salaries after the seventh day of the month. 

“The low wage levels are among the most important challenges faced by workers in the Jordanian labour market,” the organisation said, stressing the high prices of basic goods and services and the consequent “deepening of the social imbalances and inequalities, which proves the absence of social justice”.

The statement also stressed “the existence of  several sectors in which the working schedules exceed the daily maximum of 8 hours stipulated by the Labour Law”, as well as “the lack of occupational safety and health standards in large sectors”, which resulted in “thousands of work accidents, deaths and injuries”.

In addition, the Phenix centre pointed out the need to develop national policies aimed at providing a “comprehensive normative framework for migrant workers with a human rights approach”, noting that the regulations shall be applied to both guest workers in Jordan and Jordanian employees abroad.

“Despite the existence of texts that recognise equality among Jordanians and non-Jordanians, many exceptions in the regulations lead to discrimination against migrant workers,” the statement noted, stressing that “the existence of fair and clear policies that take into account the interests of both national and guest workers would have a positive impact on the working conditions of all employees”.

 “The achievement of social justice is key to the promotion of social peace and the construction of socially and economically safe societies,” the organisation concluded, pointing out that “any imbalances in social justice will threaten the security and stability of the country in different dimensions.”

The Ministry of Labour was not able to comment on the statement, despite several attempts by The Jordan Times.

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