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Jordanian Labor Watch: 89 labor protests last year

The number of labor protests carried out by Jordanian workers last year amounted to 89, a decrease of 45% from 2022, in which the number of protests reached 162 labor protests.

According to the annual monitoring report on labor protests in Jordan, issued by the Jordanian Labor Watch of the Phenix Center for Economic and Information Studies, the number of labor protests in Jordan has been in continuous decline over the past ten years, exceeding 800 protests in 2011, 2012, and 2013, and continuing to decline until it reached 89 protests last year.

The report attributed this decline to the lack of seriousness on the part of the government and the majority of employers in meeting most of the workers’ demands, which prompted many workers not to carry out any protests because they felt that their demands would not be met.

Fear of dismissal, pressure on some protesting workers, and luring them with promises of meeting their demands led many of them to withdraw from the protests, in addition to official pressure and the forcible dispersal of many protests, especially those of teachers and the unemployed, according to the report.

The report explained that the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza has played a role in the decline in the number of labor protests over the past year, as large sectors of workers suspended all their protests as a result of the shifts in the general mood of Jordanians as a result of the genocidal war facing the Palestinians in Gaza.

Labor protests monitored by the Jordanian Labor Watch include all labor protest actions, regardless of their form. According to the report, sit-ins accounted for 37.1% of all labor protests during the past year, with 33 sit-ins, while strikes and electronic storms accounted for 5.6%, with five protests each.

As for threats of protest actions, they amounted to 47.2% with 42 threats, which is the largest percentage; most of them were distributed among the unemployed, retirees of the Phosphate Company, and public transportation drivers, while protest marches and threats of self-harm or harm were equal at 2.2% with two protests each.

Regarding the reasons that prompted workers to carry out these protests, their priorities centered on protesting regulations and laws, in addition to decisions and procedures that caused harm to workers, as it ranked first (35) protests (39.3% of all protests), followed by demanding job opportunities and demanding an increase in wages and allowances (21) protests (23.6% each).

Protests that were carried out due to conflicts of interest with other parties and demands to provide social protections such as social security, health insurance, occupational safety and health conditions, and a suitable work environment ranked third with six protests (6.7%).

In the fourth place, multiple demands protests (more than one goal per protest) were ranked with three protests, constituting 3.4%, followed by demanding job stabilization, protesting against dismissal, and demanding the reform of existing unions or establishing unions, with one protest and 1.1% for each of them.

Regarding the sectors that carried out these protests, workers in the public sector carried out a total of 23 labor protests during the year 2023, accounting for 25.8% of the total protests, while workers in the private sector carried out 31 protests (34.8%), 20 protests carried out by the unemployed (22.5%), and 15 protests carried out by retirees (16.9%).

As for the perpetrators of these protests, for the twelfth consecutive year, the majority of labor protests are still carried out by labor groups that do not have a trade union framework to organize them, as their percentage in 2023 reached 33.7% of all protests.

The percentage of protests carried out by the unemployed in 2023 amounted to 22.5% (20) protests, ranking second, followed by the protests carried out by pensioners with 16.9% (15) protests, and in fourth place came the protests carried out by professional unions with 14.6% (13) protests.

In last place, the protests carried out by labor unions and their committees (official and independent) came in at 12.4%, with 11 labor protests.

As for the economic sectors in which labor protests were carried out, they were distributed in varying degrees, as the protests of the unemployed ranked first with (22.5%) (20) labor protests out of all protests, followed by the “pensioners” sector with (16.9%) with (15) protests, followed by the education sector with (13.5%) with (12) protests, while the health sector ranked fourth with (12.4%) with (11) protests.

In fifth place, the transportation sector came in at 11.2% with 10 protests; in sixth place, the services sector came in at 6.7% with 6 protests; in seventh place, the industry and energy sectors were equal at 4.5% with 4 protests each, followed in eighth place by the water sector at 3.4% with 3 protests; and in ninth place, the agriculture sector at 2.2% with only 2 protests. In the end, the trade and municipal sectors were tied at 1.1%, with only one protest each.

The report recommends that the principles and standards of decent work and the basic principles and rights at work should be applied to all wage earners in Jordan, and that the provisions of the Labor Law regarding the formation of trade unions should be amended to allow all wage earners in Jordan to form their unions freely.

The report also recommends reconsidering wage policies in order to raise them in line with the standard of living in Jordan, increasing the effectiveness of the Ministry of Labor’s inspections of the labor market to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Labor Law, and developing enforcement systems for labor legislation to put an end to violations thereof.

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