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Jordanian Labor Watch: Government policies have exacerbated the challenges faced by workers

The Jordanian Labor Watch confirmed that the economic policies applied and still applied by the government have exacerbated the challenges faced by workers in Jordan and weakened their economic participation, which has negatively affected the national economy.

The Jordanian Labor Watch pointed out that the Jordanian labor market still suffers from many imbalances that led to a decline in working conditions, thus depriving large sectors of workers from enjoying their rights and encroaching on them, whether in terms of low wages, weak social protections, or even lack of job opportunities.

This came in a report issued by the Jordanian Labor Watch of the Phenix Center for Economic and Information Studies on Tuesday, on the occasion of International Workers’ Day, which falls on May 1 of each year.

The Jordanian Labor Watch pointed out that many male and female workers face many challenges in the labor market that prevent them from effective economic participation, as the economic slowdown and unemployment rates are still high compared to historical unemployment rates in Jordan and their rates in most countries of the world, as they were before the Corona pandemic (19.2%) and reached (21.4%) in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The Jordanian Labor Watch explained that the employment programs in Jordan that the government has relied on for years to reduce unemployment rates have not succeeded in reaching their goal because they overlooked the real reasons behind the high unemployment rates, which are represented in the decline in the ability of the national economy to generate sufficient job opportunities for its applicants, and this is due to imbalances in economic policies that have burdened the economy and society with indirect taxes.

Education policies have also significantly contributed to the increase in unemployment rates, with the expansion of academic university education at the expense of intermediate, technical, and vocational education, while the needs of the labor market are moving towards technical, professional, and technological jobs.

With regard to wage levels, the Jordanian Labor Watch pointed out that wage levels in Jordan are very low compared to the standard of living, which witnesses continuous increases from time to time, and warned that there are possibilities of further increases in inflation rates during the coming period due to the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and the turmoil in the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb, which requires reviewing and raising wages to enable citizens to absorb the effects of these increases and ease their burdens.

As for social protections, the Jordanian Labor Watch pointed out that about half of the labor force in Jordan is still not covered by the social security umbrella, and considered that the social protection system in Jordan is deteriorating more and more every year, especially after the recent regressive amendments to the Social Security Law, which allowed the private sector to reduce the monthly contribution rate for old age, disability and death insurance by a maximum of 50% for Jordanian insured persons who have not completed the age of 30 and have not previously contributed to social security according to a regulation issued for this purpose, provided that they are fully covered by these insurances as of the date of completion of the age of 30 years.

The Jordanian Labor Watch emphasized that excluding young people from the most important insurance provided by social security contradicts the essence of the institution’s work, which aims to expand coverage and all insurances, and discriminates against young people.

As for occupational safety and health, the Jordanian Labor Watch said that there is a weakness in the application of occupational safety and health legislation to establishments, which led to an exacerbation of work deaths and injuries.

The percentage of work injuries approved by the institution for 2022 increased by 13.1% from 2021, and the incidence rates are still relatively high in terms of severity, as the institution recorded a work injury every 30 minutes in all sectors.

The Jordanian Labor Watch recommended reviewing employment policies to reach its goal and focusing on establishing productive projects that generate real job opportunities among the unemployed, especially the youth.

It also recommended the need to reconsider wage policies in order to raise them in line with the standard of living in Jordan and to develop systems for enforcing labor legislation to put an end to violations and enable male and female workers to enjoy decent working conditions.

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