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162 Labor protests during 2022 – Jordanian Labor Watch

Jordan Labor Watch (JLW), affiliated with the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies, has released its annual monitoring report on labor protests in Jordan for 2022. According to the report, the number of labor protests decreased by approximately 28%, with 162 protests recorded, compared to 225 protests in the previous year.

JLW monitored the protests throughout the year by maintaining direct contact with the organizers and gathering detailed information. This data was presented in an analytical format in the report.

According to (JLW), the decrease in labor protests can be primarily attributed to the insufficient commitment shown by employers and the government in addressing the demands put forth by workers during protests. Out of the total number of labor protests that took place, a mere 18 of them actually had their demands met. This lack of positive outcomes disheartened many workers, leading them to doubt whether their demands would be adequately addressed. As a result, they became reluctant to organize any further protests.

Additionally, there are other factors contributing to the decrease in labor protests. One significant factor is the fear among workers of potentially losing their jobs. Many workers are experiencing pressure from their employers, who promise them to meet their demands under the condition that they abandon the protests.

The report also highlights that officials forcibly dispersed many protests, particularly those organized by teachers and the unemployed.

It also pointed out that labor protests reflect the deep economic and social crisis in Jordan. It underlined that the stagnant wages fail to keep up with the rising cost of living, leading to a decline in the overall well-being of workers.

The report monitored all forms and sizes of labor protest actions, including threats of strikes, sit-ins, marches, and others.

According to the report, sit-ins, counting 99, accounted for nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of all labor protests during the past year. The majority of these sit-ins were organized by retirees of the Phosphate Company, smart transportation application drivers, teachers, and the unemployed. Strikes accounted for 14.8% of protests, with 24 strikes recorded.

The third most common type was threats of protest, which accounted for 13.6% of all protests, with a total of 22 threats. Protest marches came in fourth place with a rate of 6.2%, or a total of 10 marches, most of which were organized by unemployed workers. Digital protests, or “digital storms,” were the fifth most common form of labor protest, with a rate of 2.5% and a total of 4 instances. And then threats of self-harm were in last place, which accounted for only 1.9% of protests, with a total of 3 instances.


Reasons behind workers’ protests

According to the report, the main reason for labor protests was protesting against laws that caused harm to the workers. This type of protest ranked first with 71 protests, representing 43.8% of the total protests. Demands for job opportunities at 27 protests followed, representing (16.7%), most of which were by unemployed individuals. Demands for salary and incentive increases came third at 26 protests, representing 16% of protests.

Protests with multiple demands (more than one goal per protest) came fourth with 14 protests, representing (8.6%), followed by demands for job stability with 7 protests, representing (4.3%). Protests against dismissal from work recorded five protests, representing (3.1%) in sixth place.

Finally, demands to reform or establish current unions accounted for only one protest, representing 0.6%.

Labor protests were conducted by various groups. Workers in the public sector organized 40 protests, representing 24.7% of the total protests. Workers in the private sector held 63 protests, accounting for 38.9%.

Unemployed individuals carried out 28 protests, representing 17.3% of the total. Additionally, there were 5 joint labor protests involving both the public and private sectors, making up 3.1%.

Retirees participated in 25 protests, accounting for 15.4%. Lastly, workers from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) carried out a single protest, representing 0.6% of the total.

The distribution of workers’ protests across economic sectors varied, with workers in the transportation sector ranking first with 27.8% of worker protests or 45 protests. The unemployed followed with 17.3% or 28 protests.

The report recommends the implementation of decent work conditions and standards, for all workers in Jordan across all sectors. This includes amending labor laws related to the formation of workers’ unions and a review of wage policies implemented.

Furthermore, the report calls for increasing the effectiveness of labor market inspections carried out by the Jordanian Ministry of Labor to put an end to violations.

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