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Jordan: New labour law must recognise workers' rights

In partnership with the International Trade Union Confederation, representing 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and the Solidarity Center, the largest U.S.-based international worker rights organization.

Jordanian labor law has long restricted the rights of workers to exercise their right to freedom of association, to organize and to bargain collectively. These limitations include prohibiting migrant workers (a significant part of the Jordanian workforce) from forming their own unions, permitting unions in only 17 sectors set by the government and limiting one union per sector, among others. The latter in particular has made it difficult for new unions to register and carry out activities in the country. The ILO has repeatedly criticized these and other aspects of the labor law.

The Jordanian legislature is now considering amendments to the labor law which not only fail to fix these long-standing problems but in fact impose new restrictions. The amendments have passed the House of Representatives and will be debated soon by the Senate. Both the ITUC and the ILO have sent detailed memos identifying how the amendments violate international labor law, but the government has to date ignored these recommendations.

The Jordanian government needs to hear from workers globally that it must ensure its laws comply with ILO fundamental labour rights, including freedom of association, not make them worse.

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