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14 Sep 2020

Jordan: Migrant workers’ death in summer heatwave stresses the emergency of improving the working conditions in the agriculture sector

Jordan has been experiencing a heatwave that caused temperatures to rise to over 48 degrees Celsius since 29 August. The heatwave revealed the harsh and unsafe work conditions in the agriculture sector, as two migrant workers employed in this sector were reportedly died due to heatstroke and exposure to sun during their work in the Jordan Valley. Consequently, the Jordanian Labour Ministry notified all employers that workers should not work in the sun between 11 am and 5 pm, and that workers should be provided with cold drinking water.

The above mentioned incidents stress the need for regulating the work in the agriculture sector and improving work and health conditions for the workers. The agricultural sector still lacks a regulatory framework that indicates working hours during harsh circumstances similar to the current heatwave. In addition, agricultural workers are subjected to widespread abuses of labour rights including the absence of social and health insurance and occupational safety and health procedures. Moreover, the sector does not have any clear oversight and accountability mechanisms that prevent employers from forcing workers to work under poor and unsafe work conditions.