17 striking days by Jordanian electricity workers finally end
A dispute between the Jordanian Electric Power Company (JEPCO) and its employees was resolved on Tuesday after a meeting at the labour ministry, ending a 17-day strike by the workers.
The employees had gone on strike to demand improved financial benefits, including four months bonus salary each year, end-of-service allowances, better health insurance and transportation services for all workers. Earlier this week, workers also held demonstrations in different parts of the capital, including outside the Prime Ministry and the company’s premises on Mecca Street.
When the workers began their open-ended strike, they formed an independent union, which the labour ministry described as an illegal entity, to represent them. However, it was the Electricity Workers Union (EWU), which the strikers had sought to portray as insensitive to their plight, that succeeded in ending the strike after the company agreed to meet its less extensive list of demands, according to EWU President Ali Hadid.
He said the company had agreed to grant the workers several benefits, including a JD35 basic salary raise, a JD35 cost of living allowance, and a JD25 transportation allowance for employees who were not already receiving these benefits. The new benefits will go into effect as of May 1, Hadid added.
“The company also agreed to provide 10 scholarships annually for the workers’ children,” Hadid told The Jordan Times over the phone, adding that these benefits will cost the company around JD4.5 million. Previously, the workers had criticised the EWU for not supporting their strike, with some calling for the union to be abolished.
Ahmad Meri, President of the JEPCO workers’ union, said that workers and the leadership of the independent union were happy with the outcome reached by the EWU, but stressed that the strike, which the company had called illegal, played a key role in forcing the final agreement. “Without the open-ended strike by the workers, the EWU would not have managed to convince the company to meet these demands,” he told The Jordan Times.
He said that the raises employees would receive were better than the additional bonus salary they had called for during their open-ended strike. Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Minister of Labour Maher Wakid and representatives of JEPCO and the EWU.