In Jordan, Alaa Abu Tarboush, a member of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA), was arrested as he was dropping his children off at school. According to Abu Tarboush’s father, four security officials stopped his car and arrested him, taking him to an unknown location.
Right to trade union activities
In Jordan, the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA) was shut down by the authorities in July 2020 and most of its leadership was arrested, sparking popular protests across the country with over 1,000 protesters detained by security forces. The union has since been re-opened, but its leadership has been replaced and members face restrictions in organising collective actions.
Workers excluded from labour protections
In Jordan, foreign workers did not have the right to establish trade unions. They could only join a trade union constituted in one of the 17 sectors strictly defined by the government. In practice, foreign workers were disproportionately represented in excluded sectors where no collective representation is allowed, including the domestic sector (where non-Jordanians accounted for almost all of the workforce) and the agricultural sector (where non-Jordanians represented 70 per cent of the workforce). Due to these legal restrictions, foreign workers in these sectors were effectively deprived of their right to establish and join trade unions.
In the education sector, almost 1,000 foreign workers were not allowed, by an Act of 2011, to join the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA).
Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes
In Jordan, at least 25 members of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA) were arrested on 29 March 2022, as authorities tried to prevent a protest in front of the Ministry of Education. The union had planned a sit-in to protest the forced retirement of several teachers and restrictions placed by the government on the organisation and its members since 2020.
These 25 arrests come fresh off the back of a preceding wave of arrests on 24 March, in which 45 activists were detained by security forces before being released.