Social dialogue and decent work in agriculture

ILO and tripartite partners discuss measures to advance decent work in Jordan’s agricultural sector

A two-day technical meeting between the ILO and partners focused on a newly adopted bylaw that clarifies the labour rights and entitlements of agriculture workers in Jordan, in efforts to provide guidance on its practical implementation and enforcement.

News | 13 August 2021
Dead Sea, Jordan (ILO News) A two-day workshop organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions (GFJTU) brought together government, employer and worker representatives, as well as a wide spectrum of national stakeholders and experts to discuss collaboration and ways forward in advancing the country’s agricultural sector.

Discussions focused on the newly adopted bylaw that clarifies the labour rights and entitlements of agriculture workers in Jordan, in efforts to provide guidance on its practical implementation and enforcement, including offering support to workers and their employers. The ILO has provided technical guidance and input during the drafting process of the bylaw on areas related to social protection, gender, occupational safety and health, recruitment, trade unionism and international labour standards more broadly.

The meeting is part of efforts under the PROSPECTS partnership in Jordan, to improve working conditions and productivity in the sector, which has potential for growth and job creation for Jordanian and non-Jordanian workers. PROSPECTS, which is spearheaded by the Government of the Netherlands, focuses on improving education, employment and protection.

“We hope that this workshop will come out with recommendations which will allow us to work together as partners - from the public and private sectors, international organizations, civil society organizations and the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions - to advance decent work in the agricultural sector and improve its working environment," said Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat at the opening of the workshop.

The workshop was attended by members of a national working group, established with the support of the ILO under PROSPECTS to tackle decent work challenges in the agriculture sector and propose measures to address them, including legislative changes and extension of social security coverage to Jordanian, Syrian refugee, and migrant workers employed in agriculture. These include representatives of the government, workers and employers, sector experts, as well as representatives from NGOs and civil society organizations.

“As part of efforts to improve representation of all stakeholders in the sector, the ILO under PROSPECTS supported the establishment of this technical working group as well as the establishment of workers-management committees at the farm level, to strengthen representation and protection at work in the sector,” added Shaza Jondi, ILO's Chief Technical Adviser for PROSPECTS in the Arab States region.

“A significant portion of the Dutch Development Cooperation in Jordan is allocated to the agriculture sector due to its contribution to food security, economic growth and employment. Under the Prospects partnership with the International Labour Organization, the Netherlands has been working to advance decent work in the agriculture sector. We extend our gratitude to the Jordanian Government for realising the new bylaw for agricultural workers. This truly is a significant step in ensuring the rights of farmers and workers at all levels,” said Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Netherlands, Marc Hasselaar.

Participants discussed ways to promote the enforcement of the new bylaw through inspection; as well as innovative ways to incentivize compliance among workers and employers, and ways to assess the needs for education and raising awareness among workers on the bylaw.

They also discussed concrete solutions to address persistent decent work deficits, including ways to extend social protection and social security benefits to all agriculture workers and continue to facilitate issuance of work permits to refugees and migrant workers in the sector, in addition to the role of employers in enhancing decent work in the sector.

President of the GFJTU Mazen Maaytah highlighted the importance of social dialogue and having a capacity building programme for both workers and employers in the sector.

Executive Director of the Jordan Chamber of Industry Maher Al Mahrouq also stressed the importance of social dialogue to improve relations between the agri-food and agricultural sectors, and strengthen their value chains, in efforts to promote job creation and growth in both sectors.

PROSPECTS is a four-year global partnership between the Netherlands, the ILO, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank, which operates in eight countries across the East and the Horn of Africa and the Middle East to support education, employment and protection in the context of forced displacement.