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ILO and Human rights

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Jordan, where nine agricultural workers lost their lives, the focus shifts to striking a delicate balance between providing flexible labour market access and ensuring adequate workplace protections. This episode explores the challenges and opportunities in achieving decent work for vulnerable workers, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to occupational safety and health.

 Revisiting Flexibility in Labour Market Access

Jordan’s commendable efforts to facilitate the entry of Syrian refugees into the formal labour market have included flexible work permits. While these permits offer opportunities for seasonal and daily employment, the episode critically examines their limitations in providing comprehensive protection for workers.

 Employer Responsibility and Accountability

The tragic incident involving workers traveling in a pick-up truck provided by their employer raises questions about employer responsibility. The episode advocates for clear employment relationships defined by the labour law, enabling enforceable compliance with workplace protections, registration in social security, and accountability in case of contingencies.

 Decoding the Ambiguity: Bylaw Implementation

Despite the existence of Regulation No 19, the agriculture workers bylaw, the episode acknowledges the challenges in its effective implementation. Gaps in instructions, monitoring, and enforcement mechanisms contribute to an ambiguous employment situation for vulnerable workers in the agriculture sector.

 Strengthening International Labour Standards

The conditions provided to workers in Jordan, irrespective of nationality, should align with international human rights instruments and ILO conventions. The episode underscores the importance of ratifying additional ILO conventions, including those designated as fundamental conventions in 2022, to demonstrate Jordan’s commitment to upholding labour rights as human rights.

 The ILO’s Ongoing Support and Future Prospects

Recognizing Jordan’s achievements in accommodating displaced persons within its labour market, the episode highlights the ongoing support of the International Labour Organization. The ILO stands ready to assist in reinforcing labour protections, drafting regulations, and building mechanisms for effective enforcement.


 Steps Towards Decent Work

Building on existing efforts, the episode proposes specific steps to reinforce the achievement of decent work for all:

  1. Ratification of Key ILO Conventions: Actively consider and ratify conventions that contribute to enhanced occupational safety and health, reflecting a commitment to international labour standards.
  2. Comprehensive Review of Bylaws: Conduct a comprehensive review of the agriculture workers bylaw to identify and address gaps in implementation, ensuring clarity in protections for vulnerable workers.
  3. Expansion of Social Security Coverage: Work towards inclusive social security coverage for all workers, including casual and seasonal workers, emphasizing gender and nationality neutrality.
  4. Empowering Labour Inspectors: Invest in the capacity building of labour inspectors, particularly in the agriculture sector, to improve monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
  5. Cross-Sector Collaboration: Foster inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral dialogue to holistically address gaps in labour market protections, considering both legal frameworks and practical implementation.
  6. Trade Union Empowerment: Actively engage with trade unions to reconsider the rights of agriculture workers to have a dedicated union, promoting their role in advocating for occupational safety and health.
  7. Community Awareness Initiatives: Collaborate with local organizations to conduct awareness campaigns on labour rights, social security entitlements, and the shared responsibilities of workers and employers.

As Jordan navigates the aftermath of the tragic incident, these proposed steps aim to guide the nation toward achieving a balance between flexibility and protections, ultimately paving the way for a future where decent work prevails for all workers.

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