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Keeping tabs on workers’ right

Feb 07,2018 - Last updated at Feb 07,2018

The Jordan Labour Watch (JLW) is calling for revisiting the national labour legislation to make it comply more with the Jordanian Constitution and the relevant International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions which are legally binding on the country after having been ratified in due course. 

One of the prominent amendments being proposed by JLW concerns minimum wage, which now stands at JD220 a month. JLW is suggesting that the current statutory prescribed minimum wage stipulated in accordance with Article 52 of the Labour Law is repugnant to ILO standards as it does not meet the standard of having it reviewed annually on the basis of inflationary indicators as determined by the Department of Statistics.

The law, as it now stands, requires a review of minimum wage by a tripartite committee comprising labour unions, the private sector and the government on an annual basis by taking into consideration the rising cost of living. This much, JLW says, has not been done on a periodic basis as called for by both the relevant national law and international labour norms.

This omission in practice should not be too hard to rectify as this would be not only legal and necessary under domestic legislation and international conventions but also the right thing to do to afford workers and their families an adequate standard of living. 

Inflationary trends change periodically and surely minimum wage must be adjusted accordingly on an annual basis. This much is not being done and JLW wants this omission be rectified as a matter of great urgency. 

With regard to Article 98 of the Labour Law on the right to form  trade unions,  JLW maintains that this provision, as it now stands, is unduly restrictive as it limits the professions and services where workers can form their own respective unions. 

This restriction, JLW maintains, violates freedom of association and requires therefore the necessary amendment to eliminate this arbitrary restriction. While the formation of trade unions needs not be a free for all right, a more flexible criteria for the exercise of this right would be in order. The availability of day care centres for women workers also calls for revisiting. 

JLW wants companies or establishments employing 20 women or more to provide them with daycare facilities. While this proposal appears just and warranted under normal conditions, its implementation under current economic conditions facing the country appears right in principle but too costly in practice.

Providing daycare for children of women workers must continue to be a legitimate objective, its implementation requires better economic conditions in the country.

 

All in all it is good that JLW is keeping the tabs on workers' rights. Labour laws and practices require constant watch and this is exactly what JLW aims to do.

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