Beginning next year, most workers at the Electricity Distribution Company (EDCO) will receive pay raises, following an agreement reached between the company and the General Union of Electricity Workers.
“Our agreement is to continue the process we started in 1996 with the aim of improving the workers' situation in our company,” a representative of EDCO, who declined to be named, told the Jordan Times.
After four weeks of continuous negotiations, the union accepted the offers forwarded by EDCO which include a family bonus and increased salaries.
Permanent employees will receive seven dinars more per month, while the monthly dependants allowance will be raised from JD15 to JD20, starting Jan. 1, 2001. A worker will be paid nine dinars for his wife, five dinars for his first child, four dinars for his second and two dinars for his third child.
Workplace allowances for those employees who work in more distant places under severe conditions were unchanged, as former agreements were regarded as satisfactory.
The new agreement allows the workers, who are members of the union, to be represented in the company's three committees which administer health insurance, stocks and investments, and general insurance.
EDCO also decided to fix the status of those workers who were employed on a daily basis, by paying them monthly salaries, and giving monthly salaries to those who complete the probationary training period. Salaries will be granted according to the needs of the company and the quality of the employees' work and conduct.
Finally, the agreement also foresees the payment of end of service bonuses to those people who were employed before Dec. 1, 1983.
“The workers are satisfied, especially as a lot of them had not expected the company to meet our demands as they did,” secretary of the union, Mohammad Abu Awwad, told the Jordan Times.
The union had warned the company that workers would stage an open strike if they were not granted higher pay and better working conditions.
Having signed the agreement, EDCO representatives emphasized their commitment to raising workers' standard of living and improving their working conditions “as long as the financial situation of the company allows it.” They emphasized that the company was still in the process of establishing itself as a private company and that the financial situation was still “delicate.”
In 1996, when the Jordan Electric Company was privatized, three new companies came into being: The National Electric Company (NEC), the Electricity Distribution Company (EDCO) and the National Electric Power Producing Company (NEPCO).
Along with privatization labor unions appeared on the stage, and the new administration of EDCO introduced several new regulations to appease employees.
“We granted our workers two additional salaries per year and increased their actual salaries by 10 percent,” the company's representative explained. Moreover, he said, the company increased the number of employee-owned company shares by five percent and raised working place allowances for people who work under severe conditions.
“In late 1999, we commenced intensive talks with the union and managed to meet part of their demands,” the company source said.
“Although the union's demands were not completely realized, the agreement is positive for us,” one EDCO employee told the Jordan Times.
“Even if the salaries are not really great, a lot of people need the additional money,” the employee said. — ( Jordan Times )
By Dima Amr
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )