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Workers safety standards in northern municipalities still weak — report

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Nov 01,2017 - Last updated at Nov 01,2017

AMMAN — A labour report on vocational health and safety conditions for workers in the northern region’s municipalities indicated an increase of work injuries among employees.

This came as a result of working in hazardous circumstances and dealing with waste, President of Jordan Labour Watch (JLW) Ahmad Awad told The Jordan Times over the phone on Tuesday.

The report, issued by JLW, affiliated with Phoenix Centre for Economic and Information Studies, said that the list of municipalities’ workers includes cleaners, drivers of waste management vehicles, those who work with pesticides and fertilisers, electricity technicians and agriculture workers.

Testimonies of workers showed that numerous injuries take place but do not get reported since the workers are afraid of getting fired or reprimanded for failing to wear safety gear, according to the report, which was published in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

The report also included testimonies from workers about  the low-quality and fragile equipment that they did not use in fear of damaging them, and being forced to pay for a replacement. 

The report stated that the situation of the employees working in the northern municipalities is “ignored” by the concerned authorities.

According to the report, the number of workers in those municipalities amounts to 18,000, of which 25 per cent are females in the four greater municiplaites, Irbid, Jerash, Mafraq and Ajloun.

For the workers’ salaries, the report described them as low since the majority of the incomes range between JD220 and JD400.

Regarding working hours and time off, it said that they work six days a week and sometimes they’re “obliged” to even work on  Fridays, while the law clearly states that employees should only work on Fridays voluntarily. 

The JLW president called for amending the labour law related to establishing labour associations for all workers, who get paid in Jordan, in addition to amending the Civil Service Law to facilitate establishing associations.

Awad also called for amending articles that are related to workers’ rights. 

He stressed the importance of paying overtime in accordance with the law, which stipulates paying 150 per cent more than the regular wage.

 

The president reiterated the importance of improving health and safety criteria, raising safety awareness among workers, regulating the quality of equipment, and monitoring the workers’ commitment to safety standards.        

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