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Private school teachers, owners discuss renewal of unified labour contract

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Apr 25,2018 - Last updated at Apr 25,2018

AMMAN — The National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) on Saturday held the first social dialogue session on the collective bargaining agreement and unified labour contract for private school teachers, which saw the attendance of representatives from the Ministry of Labour, the Social Security Institution and the Education Ministry. 

Organised with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the session covered the challenges faced by both school owners and teachers in the private sector, discussing the renewal of the current collective bargaining agreement and unified contract. 

The agreement was signed last year in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Law No. 8 of 1996 and its amendments between the General Union of Private Schools Owners and the General Union of Workers in Special Education. 

Gender consultant at the ILO Reem Aslan told The Jordan Times that the discussion was held upon request by a group of teachers asking to consider their rights while discussing the challenges faced by private school owners in implementing the provisions of the agreement. 

“The current agreement covers the annual raise and the need to transfer the teachers’ salaries to their bank accounts,” Aslan said, adding that “the period of the unified contract will finish with the end of the present academic year, and it is time to start the negotiations regarding the next contract”.

The expert explained that “88 per cent of teachers are women, most of whom are not paid the minimum wage or included in the social security system”.

Labour Ministry Secretary General Hani Khleifat noted that the meeting “opens the door to social dialogue with all parties involved in the private education sector, in order to formulate a set of recommendations to be submitted to the institutions concerned with the collective labour contract”.

In addition, Khleifat stressed “the importance of achieving gender equality in our legislation in order to increase women's participation in the labour market,” adding that “Jordan has committed itself to achieving the principles of pay equity and the promotion of female economic participation by ratifying the ILO Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration, and the Convention No. 111 on Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation”. 

"Tensions between school owners and workers relaxed during the dialogue,” Aslan noted, adding that an agreement was reached to rephrase seven articles on the annual salary raise, bank transfers, the provisions related to the experience of the teachers, their probation period and the minimum time for hiring. 

Earlier this year, over 60 teachers called on the Ministry of Education to take measures against the violations committed by several private schools regarding the salaries of their employees in a meeting organised by the Stand Up with the Teacher campaign. ​

Started in 2015 with the support of NCPE and the ILO, the campaign aims to help female teachers working in private schools ensure that their basic labour rights are respected, according to the campaign organisers.

The campaign’s meeting concluded with Education Minister Omar Razzaz’s announcement of the ministry’s decision requiring all private schools across the Kingdom to transfer the teachers’ salaries to their bank accounts.

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