Jordan Telecom hit by strike action

Operator concedes to trade union demands after two-day stand off.

Jordan Telecom Group (JTG) has offered employees a number of concessions after they took part in a two-day strike over salary levels and working conditions.

Despite earlier describing the industrial action as "illegal" early in the dispute, JTG bowed to worker demands claiming it had come to a "balanced agreement" with trade union officials.

The dispute was resolved after JTG, which is majority-owned by France Telecom, agreed to a redundancy package for a number of employees wishing to leave the company and to begin paying overtime to those who work more than 40 hours a week.

In addition to the redundancy package and overtime, the operator has pledged to implement an annual pay increase for some staff, appoint doctors in the provinces to authenticate sick leave and provide hot meals to workstations that accommodate a large number of employees.

Abdul Rahman Aboud, head of the Trade Union of Public Utilities and Free Trade, claimed the union was satisfied with the outcome, but did not rule out the possibility of future action if the agreements were not respected. "I am happy because we have all we asked for," he stated.

The strike caused partial service disruptions in the kingdom and several branches of the company's offices were forced to close as a sizeable number of employees took part in in the industrial action.

"Recently we had a big strike but the reports of 3,000 strikers were exaggerated as that is in excess of the number of people within the company. In reality somewhere between 30 - 40% of the company's staff participated [in the strike] but I believe that we managed alright over the period," commented Philippe Vogeleer, chief strategy officer of JTG.

"We hope the agreement should calm any nerves about restructuring within the company.

"Such measures are necessary in light of increasing market competition we face," he added.

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