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Uganda signs labour export deal with Jordan

Ugandans will now be able to work in Jordan

Ugandans will have an opportunity to work in Jordan following the signing of an agreement between officials of both countries.

The ministry of gender, labour and social development signed a bilateral labour agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to pave way for Ugandan migrant workers to find jobs in the Arab kingdom.

The agreement was negotiated and concluded in Jordan during an October 10-13 visit by a delegation led by labour minister Janat Mukwaya. The minister and her Jordanian counterpart, Ali Ghezawi, held bilateral talks that paved the way for the deal.

Commenting on the concerns over the violation of rights of Ugandan workers in the Middle East, the director for Labour at the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Martin Wandera, who was also part of the Ugandan delegation, noted that Jordan was unique compared to other Middle East countries because it has the most progressive labour laws in that area.

“The issue of workers’ rights was discussed exclusively and the decision to conclude this agreement was informed, among others, by the fact that Jordan has a progressive law regime and enforcement mechanism.

The labour enforcement mechanism includes a toll-free line available to migrant workers that provides 24-hour real-time responses,” Wandera said. “Such a complaints procedure is not readily available in the countries where our workers have had problems.”

Key features of the agreement with Jordan include an employment contract that will be signed by the employee, employer in Jordan, the recruitment company in Uganda and the recruitment company in Jordan.

Accordingly, the Ugandan and Jordanian recruitment companies, as well as the employers in Jordan, will be jointly and severally liable for the implementation of the employment contract.

“This is a departure from the current contracts that are signed only between the employee and the foreign recruitment company,” Wandera said.

Other provisions that will change the landscape of externalising labour are accreditation by the Uganda government of all Jordanian recruitment companies before they can recruit Ugandans, approval of job orders by the Ugandan embassy accredited to Jordan, and quarterly updates about the status of Ugandan workers in Jordan by the ministry of labour of the Kingdom of Jordan.      

Despite this new agreement, the ban on externalisation of domestic workers still awaits the minister’s review.   

pbaike@yahoo.com

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