Jordan: Serious Violations of Workers' Rights

Published: Thu 13 Nov 2008 11:14 AM
Jordan: Serious Violations of Workers' Rights
Brussels, 12 November 2008 (ITUC OnLine): Violations of trade union
rights and discrimination against migrant workers must be addressed in
Jordan, according to a new ITUC report on core labour standards.
The report, which coincides with the Trade Policy Review of Jordan at
the WTO, notes that many workers continue to be denied the right to
organise, particularly public sector employees, civil servants, migrant
workers, domestic workers, and agricultural workers.
The ITUC report particularly criticises the lack of substantial progress
on workers' rights and working conditions in the export processing zones
in Jordan, called qualified industrial zones (QIZs). Mistreatment is
common practice, including long working hours without payment of
overtime, abusive conditions and violations of workers' rights. Many
workers in QIZs are migrant workers who are excluded from protections in
the labour law and do not have the right to organise.
Abuses against many Asian women who migrate to work as domestic workers
in Jordan persist. They are subject to forced conditions of work,
withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, abusive treatment,
non-payment of wages, threats and physical or sexual abuse, long working
hours, and high deductions for food and shelter.
The report also refers to issues related to child labour, discrimination
and forced labour. It notes that child labour is prevalent in Jordan,
including in informal work in agriculture and domestic work in addition
to a growing number of street children. Rights of working children are
violated as 70% of them earn less than the minimum wage and almost half
work more than nine hours per day. While forced labour exists in the
Qualified Industrial Zones and among migrant workers in domestic work,
agriculture and construction, the report states that trafficking of
people for forced labour is a major issue. Discrimination in employment
and remuneration is prohibited but according to the report there are
legal shortcomings and in practice women have less access to employment
and receive lower wages due to occupational segregation.
In its conclusions the report strongly recommends the putting in place
of implementation mechanisms for the right to organise and collective
bargaining as well as increased labour inspection in all areas. It
stresses the need to introduce adequate penalties in cases of
violations. The report urges increased protection for children and more
urgent measures to address the instances of forced labour in domestic
work and agriculture and the trafficking of people for the purpose of
forced labour. It calls upon the government to increase efforts and
measures, including legislative changes, in line with ILO standards, in
order to reduce wage and occupational inequalities. Finally, the report
calls for urgent and effective measures to regulate recruitment agencies
for domestic migrant labour and to stop abuses.

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