New collective agreement will provide better working conditions for mostly women private schools teachers in Jordan

The collective contract came about after a long negotiation process promoted by the National Committee for Pay Equity chaired by the Ministry of Labour and the Jordanian National Commission for Women and supported by the ILO.

Press release | 10 March 2017
AMMAN (ILO News) – On 9 March 2017, during the week of International Women’s Day, the General Trade Union of Private Education Employees and the Private Schools Owners’ Association signed a sectoral collective agreement regulating working conditions of private schools teachers in Jordan. The new collective contract, effective starting from the academic year 2017/18, was signed under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour as the Ministry heads the National Committee for Pay Equity.

The collective agreement improves labour conditions of teachers in the private sector by establishing a unified contract, mandatory except if the provided contract offers better benefits than the ones stipulated in the unified one. The unified contract mandates that all salaries must be transferred to banks unless the employees agree in a written statement otherwise.

Notably, the agreement increases the minimum wage to 220 Jordanian dinars (JOD), with a teaching allowance of JOD 10 per month, a minimum of 5 per cent raise per annum and an increase of JOD 5 per each year of experience at the school (JOD 1 = USD 1.4 approx.) The unified contract obliges schools to have daycare centres in accordance with Article 72 of the Labour Law. Furthermore, enrolment in social security is compulsory for all workers. In addition, a 45-day mutual probation period has been stipulated, where the contract does not impose any obligations on employers or employees in case the teacher finds a better job opportunity, establishing that they will be paid for the time they provided their services during this period. It is important to note that the signed collective agreement applies to all private schools, regardless of their affiliation to the Union of Private Sector Schools or the membership of the workers to the General Union of Workers in Private Education.

The collective contract came about after a long negotiation process promoted by the National Committee for Pay Equity chaired by the Ministry of Labour and the Jordanian National Commission for Women and supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO has provided extensive technical support to the National Committee and supported the social dialogue platform that allowed all different actors, including the female teachers, to be involved in the negotiations. Over the past years, the National Committee for Pay Equity has brought to public attention the deficits in decent work in the private education sector in Jordan where many teachers, mainly women, were not enjoying fair wages and decent working conditions.

This collective contract is the result of first-of-its-kind collective action from grassroots workers – especially women workers – in Jordan. For some two years, organized teachers in Irbid have voiced their needs through the “Stand up with the teacher’s campaign” that has mobilized teachers in the country and conveyed their interests to the representatives of the General Trade Union of Private Education Employees and the Private Schools Owners Association in a process of social dialogue.

The new collective agreement will impact the lives of approximately 37,000 private school teachers, the majority of whom are women. It is a highly positive step in the right direction towards achieving women’s economic empowerment through collective action and representation. The National Committee for Pay Equity will congratulate all actors involved in a ceremony, to take place in the coming weeks.

The ILO, jointly with the National Committee for Pay Equity, will continue to work closely with social partners in the private schools sector to support the implementation of the agreement.