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النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

Celebrating Labor Rights: A Call for Decent Work on International Workers’ Day


Each year on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day, is observed worldwide. This day commemorates the historic struggles and gains made by workers and unions. Labor Day today is dedicated to calling for the economic and social rights of workers and highlighting the importance of fair labor practices and rights.

In the context of labor rights, the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work program is integral to these discussions. The program’s objective is to ensure productive work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equality, security, and human dignity. Decent Work goes beyond employment creation; it aims to enhance the quality of jobs and ensure that workers’ rights are respected. The ILO’s Decent Work program encompasses several key components: promoting jobs and enterprise, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection, and promoting social dialogue.

Initiatives such as ILO’s Decent Work are critical to address pressing challenges facing workers in Jordan such as employment informality, low female workforce participation, and diminished inclusiveness of persons with disabilities and other groups, such as refugees, into the labor force. Workers employed informally or in the informal sector lack formal contracts and benefits associated with it, which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation such as unpaid wages, no job security, and the absence of social protection like health insurance and pensions. Moreover, enforcement of labor laws remains inconsistent, and there is a continuous need for stronger regulatory frameworks to ensure compliance across all industries.

The private sector and government have crucial roles to play in enhancing working rights and conditions. The government can enhance its efforts by strengthening labor law enforcement and providing more support for labor rights education campaigns. There is also a significant opportunity for the government to lead by example, ensuring that all public sector jobs adhere strictly to the principles of decent work.

For the private sector, there is an impetus to adopt ethical business practices that promote labor rights. Companies can contribute by improving working conditions, offering fair wages, and ensuring security for their employees. Additionally, businesses can engage in public-private partnerships to drive more comprehensive workforce development programs that align with the Decent Work objectives.

In light of these challenges, the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) has teamed up with ILO in the promotion of social dialogue to improve social protection for residents and workers in Jordan. We have also partnered with the Jordanian Business Association for the second edition of the Ethics in Business Award to be celebrated this May, reflecting the commitment of civil society and the private sector to engage with the government in meaningful dialogue and action towards ethical business practices that support and advance labor rights. ARDD is also part of the global coalition advocating for the Right to Social Security, which comprises over 90 human rights, faith-based, and economic justice organizations.

This Labor Day let’s reaffirm our commitment to the rights of all workers. It’s time for stakeholders across all sectors to come together and ensure that the strides made are not only preserved but also built upon. The journey towards fair labor practices and rights for all is ongoing, and every step taken is a step towards a more just and equitable society. Join us in this mission, and let’s make every day a day to advocate for decent work in the Arab world as a pathway for the renaissance of our societies.