A recent report published by the Phoenix Centre for Economics and Informatics Studies in association with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation states that a large number of printing press workers in Jordan are deprived of their basic rights. Titled ‘Decent Work’, the report states that majority of the companies are not following the Labour laws regarding the minimum wages paid, granting of annual leave/sick leave, nor do they have stable work conditions and do not ensure safety in workplace.
According to Ad-Dustour (a Jordanian newspaper), the report stated that the labour conditions varied depending on the size of the printing press. The larger the press the conditions were found to be better there. Smaller print houses lacked the basic facilities for employees that included paying minimum level of salaries, ensuring social protection, more working hours etc. The report was prepared by conducting field surveys and by interviewing workers and employees in the printing industry.
According to Ahmad Awad – Director of the Phoenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies, there is a no clear statistics on the number of employees working in the printing presses. He said that the team faced great difficulty in obtaining accurate information on the number of workers in this field. The figures obtained by the Centre showed that there are approximately 15,000 people employed in about 550 to 650 presses in the country.
Meanwhile, the General Trade Union of Workers in Printing, Publishing, Paper and Carton estimated that about 12,000 workers were employed in the printing and related industry and certified that there are no accurate statistics regarding the number of people working in this sector.
The report mentions that the proportion of women working in this sector is not more than 5%, and they work in departments like administration and binding. It also stated that only large and medium presses employ women workers, while the number of women in small presses is almost negligible.
The report further states that the contribution of immigrant workers is limited in this sector. It says that the numbers of immigrant workers are limited and mostly they are skilled technicians. According to the report, only a few medium and small presses employ immigrant workers but many of them work without obtaining an official permit from the Ministry of Labour.
The report indicates that workers, who work in smaller presses (that employs less than 10 workers) are more subject to violations. While interviewing the workers, most of them said that there was no proper union that addressed the issues of employees working in printing, publishing, cardboard and carton companies. The report said that the minimum wages approved by the Tripartite Commission, which is 190 Jordanian dinars, were not paid to many workers. It pointed towards the limited exposure provided by the vocational training centres in the job market. Poor placement facilities often deprive fresh graduates from getting a good job in the market. The report also complained that workers showed lack of commitment, especially young people.
The report recommended the active role of the Ministry of Labor to improve these conditions and to stop the violations suffered by the workers in the printing sector. It asks the public institutions for social security to regularly monitor the work conditions in this sector and ensure that workers are not deprived off their rights. The report recommended the need to develop Vocational Training Centres in the printing sector to train and educate workers on the latest printing methods and technologies.