Jordan’s Ministry of Labour and the ILO strengthen collaboration to support decent work in agriculture

A new Memorandum of Understanding will see the establishment of employment support offices to boost decent work opportunities in the agricultural sector.

News | 03 June 2020
© Prime Ministry/Jordan
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) The ILO and Jordan’s Ministry of Labour, together with the Vocational and Technical Skills Development Commission, a new entity affiliated with the Ministry, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at boosting employment and decent work in the agricultural sector.

The MoU will see the establishment of six agricultural guidance and support offices in the Jordanian districts of Mafraq, Irbid, Zarqaa and Balqaa that will provide employment services to job-seekers, workers and employers. These will include career counselling and job-matching services, and information to workers on their labour rights and responsibilities, as well as on Occupational Safety and Health.

The signing of the agreement took place under the patronage of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz on Wednesday (June 3). The agreement was signed by the Minister of Labour Nidal Bataineh, the Chairman of the Commission Qais Safasfeh, and ILO’s Country Coordinator in Jordan Patrick Daru.

“We must build true partnerships with the private sector and with local agricultural cooperatives and associations in order to create work opportunities for young men and women in this important sector,” said Prime Minister Razzaz. “Today’s meeting was a significant indication (of this partnership). There were representatives of the Jordanian Agricultural Engineers Associations and the Jordanian Farmers Union. We spoke about the importance of agricultural cooperatives in this field and of course the urgent work of the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the ILO and the Government of the Netherlands, which is supporting this project that aims to create 500 employment opportunities for Jordanian youth.”

The initiative will facilitate the employment of 500 young Jordanians who have completed the “Khedmat Watan” programme, a government-led educational initiative, which provides youth with vocational training opportunities in different sectors. The Vocational and Technical Skills Development Commission will assist those who find employment to access Social Security coverage, enhancing their protection at work and promoting decent work principles in the sector.

Minister Bataineh said that for the first time, decent work opportunities would be available for Jordanian youth in the agricultural sector through the provision of Social Security and health insurance coverage. “These efforts and our partnership with the relevant sides will ensure that youth will be drawn to employment in this sector,” added the Minister.

The ILO will provide the centres with technical and financial support to facilitate the access of Jordanian agricultural workers and job seekers to the labour market within the sector. The centres, which will be run in close collaboration with agricultural cooperatives, will also support Syrian refugees employed in the sector to apply for or renew work permits through the offices.

"We are delighted to be able to sign this agreement today with the Ministry of Labour, thanks to the generosity of the Kingdom of Netherlands, as it allows us to work together for more and better jobs in agriculture," said Daru. "We expect to learn much from this project and to expand its scope in the future."

“Jordan and the Netherlands recognise the importance of agriculture to generate jobs, income and food security. The Netherlands invests in sustainable agriculture across the value chain in Jordan, in which decent working conditions are key,” said Camilla Veerman, First Secretary of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jordan. “Today, I am pleased to see the commitment of the government of Jordan and the ILO and their inspired cooperation translate into concrete ways forward and contribute to better jobs for vulnerable people in Jordan.”

The ILO is working with cooperatives, the Government of Jordan and other partners to improve the living and working conditions of farm workers in Jordan, as part of activities being implemented under Partnership for improving prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities (PROSPECTS). PROSPECTS, a global initiative, funded by the Government of the Netherlands, brings together the ILO, International Finance Corporation (IFC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank to address three main pillars - education and learning; decent work; and social protection - in eight countries, including Jordan.

The signing of the agreement comes weeks after the inking of a similar memorandum between the Ministry and the ILO to enhance the capacities of inspectors in protecting workers and promoting decent work in the Kingdom.