Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately

published 1 April 2022 updated 17 June 2024

Education International has strongly reiterated its condemnation of the acts of harassment against the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA), its leaders and members. It deplores the criminalisation of legitimate trade union activities including marches and demonstrations.

Ruthless and ongoing arrests and detentions of education unionists

Reacting to the most recent violation of the trade union rights of educators, i.e., the arrest and detention of 163 JTA unionised teachers and board members – whose identities he also got – on 29 March, Education International’s General Secretary David Edwards highlighted that these unionists were arrested while protesting in front of the Education Ministry. The syndicate had planned a sit-in to protest the restrictions placed by the government on JTA and its members since 2020.

In his letter to the Jordanian Prime Minister dated 31 March, he also reminded that the 150,000-strong teacher labour organisation JTA was illegally shut down in July 2020 and dissolved on 31 December 2020 by the Amman magistrate court. On 29 September 2021, the Jordanian Attorney General rejected the appeal filed by the JTA against the union dissolution and one-year imprisonment of all 14 JTA board members.

Quality education correlated to respect for teachers’ human and trade union rights

He went on to deeply regret that leading members of the JTA continue to be regularly arrested and detained, as was the case in connection with World Teachers Day celebrations, when they objected to the unilateral change of the employment regulations for civil servants to ease the termination of teachers’ employment without compensation and force teachers to retire early.

“I call once more on the Jordanian authorities to stop the harassment of the JTA and to confirm the right of all teachers in Jordan to join the union of their choice and to express opinions on education policy,” Edwards wrote, highlighting that “a teaching force that is supported with fair working conditions and the right to organise and manage its affairs is one that can provide quality education for all children”.

Report to the International Labour Organization

Education International has reported to the International Labour Organization on this serious issue, stressing that “despite the constitution of Jordan guaranteeing the right to assembly, free speech and protest, heavy-handed approaches to protests and dissent are common, particularly through crackdowns on the teachers' syndicate”.

It will continue to stand in solidarity with its sister organisations in Jordan and closely monitor the human and trade union rights situation in the country, Edwards ensured.