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Union demands raising 5% service charge to pre-pandemic rate of 10%

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Mar 14,2023 - Last updated at Mar 14,2023

AMMAN — The General Union for freelancers and service workers is demanding the government to increase the 5 per cent service charge to its pre-pandemic rate of 10 per cent.

 Speaking with The Jordan Times, union leader Khaled Abu Marjoub said that the “marked recovery and growth” of the Kingdom’s tourism sector should be reflected positively on the livelihoods of its workers, the majority of whom are Jordanians. 

 The Kingdom’s tourism revenue increased by 110.5 per cent in 2022, reaching $5.816 billion, according to statistics issued by the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ). 

Abu Marjoub noted that the 10 per cent service charge typically paid by customers at hotels and tourism facilities was set based on a 1992 decision from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. 

 Workers were entitled to 7 per cent of the service charge, while 3 per cent went to the hotel or tourism facility, he said.   

In 2020, the government reduced the service charge to 5 per cent, 3.5 per cent of which is allocated for workers, as a response measure to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector, he added.  

The wages of no less than 50,000 workers in the sector have been impacted by this decrease, according to Abu Marjoub.  

Moreover, the union has received many complaints regarding institutions that “manipulate” this percentage and give workers less than they are legally entitled to, he said, noting the need to enhance oversight and inspection efforts.

 “Legally, the service charge isn’t supposed to be part of the basic salary. However, some facilities use it to avoid paying workers the minimum wage,” a violation that became more apparent after the service charge was reduced to 5 per cent, Abu Marjoub continued.  

For example, a worker who is paid a basic salary of JD200, which is JD60 below the minimum wage, used to receive a 10 per cent monthly service charge of JD100 to JD150, covering the difference, he explained.  

Currently, the added sum from the 5 per cent service charge is barely enough to ensure a total that is equal to the minimum wage, he noted. 

 Abu Marjoub also stressed that maintaining the growth of the tourism sector and the quality of its services requires protecting the rights of its workers and ensuring a stimulating work environment that offers fair wages.  


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