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Stakeholders discuss means to protect private school teachers’ wages

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Aug 05,2018 - Last updated at Aug 05,2018

A survey by the Stand Up with the Teacher campaign showed that 94.5 per cent of the private school teachers would prefer their salary to be transferred to their bank accounts (File photo)

AMMAN — The National Committee for Pay Equity (NCPE) on Sunday organised a roundtable discussion on the means to ensure wage protection for private school teachers, aiming to raise awareness on the need to electronically transfer salaries to protect workers against violations. 

Held under the patronage of Secretary General of the Ministry of Labour Hani Khleifat, the discussion built on the decision by Prime Minister Omar Razzaz to require all private schools across the Kingdom to transfer the teachers’ salaries to their bank accounts, as a way to ensure that schools adhere to the regulations stipulated by the collective agreement on the working conditions of teachers, at a time when the premier held the position of minister of education. 

Addressing the Lower House with the new government’s policy statement on July 9, the premier responded to demands formulated by the NCPE and the Stand Up with the Teacher campaign, announcing that the new Regulations on the Classification of Private Schools will be endorsed “shortly” as part of the new government’s first 100 days programme. 

On Sunday, Khleifat expressed the Ministry of Labour’s commitment to Razzaz’s decision, noting that the ministry is “working towards signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education and the Social Security Corporation to ensure the implementation of the Labour Law provisions on all workers in the private education sector”.

The official pointed out that the Labour ministry’s inspection teams recently intensified their efforts to inspect private educational institutions, seeking to ensure that all schools adhere to the regulations.

Activist Hadeel Kiswani elaborated on the journey of the Stand Up with the Teacher campaign, which was launched in 2015 with the support of the NCPE and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to help female teachers working in private schools ensure that their basic labour rights are respected. 

Secretary General of the Ministry of Education Mohammad Akor stressed the “great value” of the private education sector in Jordan, noting that a joint technical committee comprising the Ministry of Education and representatives of several private schools “contributed to several amendments on the system for the licencing of private schools, including the requirement for private educational institutions to transfer the salaries of teachers to their bank accounts or e-wallets”. 

On behalf of Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) Secretary General Salma Nims, legal adviser Amal Haddadin said “the gender pay gap is one of the issues affecting most workers within the private school sector; the extremely low wages received by women are one of the main factors forcing them out of the labour market, as most of their salary is spent in transportation”.

“While the general gender pay gap in the Jordanian private sector stands at 14.2 per cent, it reaches 30.2 per cent in the private school sector,” ILO Gender Consultant Reem Aslan stated, highlighting the joint efforts exerted to address the pay gap, among other problems.

“Getting our salaries transferred to our bank accounts or e-wallets is the only way for us [teachers] to prove when a violation is committed,” co-founder of the campaign Nareeman Shawaeen told The Jordan Times in previous remarks, stressing that “when no data is available, schools can force us to sign our resignation during the summer months or deny us our right to social security — not to mention that most of us receive salaries way below the minimum wage”.

“The collective agreement on the working conditions of teachers requires schools to transfer the salaries to a bank account unless the workers express their desire not to do so,” the activist said, criticising that “a recent survey proved that several schools are violating the rights of their teachers”.

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