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Language proficiency tests: A new method to terminate workers from Joramco

Phenix Center
Language proficiency tests: A new method to terminate workers from Joramco
The Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Limited Company, “Joramco”, terminated five workers who failed to pass the English proficiency test following alleged “violations to the company by-laws”, according to a written warning sent by the company to the employees which was followed by a termination letter.

Under the new amendments to the company’s by-Laws, which staff members reported  had not been circulated to them, workers were required to pass an English course, despite the fact that this was not mentioned in the employment contracts signed between the administration and workers years ago.

Five workers were warned twice in different points after not passing the course, despite taking weekly exams since last March, when the administration relied on Article 38 of the company’s by-laws, while others were threatened with termination of services after receiving the first warning.

According to workers who spoke to the Jordan Labor Watch, the article was added to the by-laws "to end employees’ services, as workers will not pass all the exams held weekly."

The workers were surprised that they were terminated last week, mainly as they did not expect the company to base their continued employment on the condition of passing English courses, as this was not included in the contracts.

They note that the management has not circulated the by-law after it has been amended to staff by e-mail or through providing physical copies, unlike the previous by-laws, of which each staff member was given a copy.

The Jordan Labor Watch obtained copies of warnings and termination letters addressed to workers on Thursday, August 19, proving that the warning or termination of services was caused by failing to pass the English course.

According to the statement of the workers to the Labor Watch, these measures "complement the foundation's policy and its desire to dismiss workers after the pandemic without guilt or reasons, and it is a mere excuse to be able to get rid of the staff."

One of the workers whose services had been terminated after working for the company for many years said that the warning sent by the administration based on Article 38 of the by-law is "unjustified" since "English is not always a work requirement, and the exam held by the company almost weekly since last spring has the main goal to "terminate the workers".

He criticized the company's policy to make examinations compulsory, as the company's examinations "were used to determine promotions and not to terminate the services of employees without stating this condition in their contracts".

Another worker supported this, saying that “the courses have become an excuse to send warnings and to dismiss workers after [the excuse of] the pandemic, despite it not being a requirement to work in the first place. These are workers who have been in the company for years and this clause did not exist in their contracts,” which led the employees’ refusal to sign the termination of their services.

Workers from the company sent a letter to the General Trade Union of Air Transport and Tourism Workers, requesting their swift intervention on the decisions they described as "unfair", which they further stated is “not at all in the interest of workers”, notably article 38 of the by-laws. Additionally, they noted that the body responsible for language courses is "unknown and is not accredited to grant certificates", as explained in the letter.

For its part, the General Union of Air Transport and Tourism Workers sent a letter to the Ministry of Labor and the Director-General of the company demanding the reversal of the decision, as it is “unlawful”, according to the union's president Youssef Qanab.

Qanab told the Jordan Labor Watch that the union considered the company's action a collective dismissal of five workers that could affect others in the coming days.

Hamada Abu Najma, a labor law expert, said the contract formulated between the two parties did not require English or other language courses, and thus the contractual origin is devoid of this requirement. This enables workers whose services have been terminated to be able to challenge the by-law and file labor complaints in the name of arbitrary dismissal.

Abu Najma clarified when speaking to the Labor Watch that if workers file this suit, they will receive compensation instead of arbitrary dismissal, or will return to work, in accordance with the law.

Jordan Labor Watch has attempted to reach Joramco for a comment 9 days ago, but as of the time of writing, there has been no response from the company. The director of Human Resources, who signed the letter of the dismissal of employees, refused to release a statement to the Jordan Labor Watch. The Media Officer referred the matter to a public relations firm responsible for Joramco’s media affairs, which has informed Jordan Labor Watchit is still waiting for the response of Joramco.

We have once more sent an e-mail as of last Wednesday to inquire about the amendments to the by-Laws and the terminations of employees. Joramco has not yet responded to the request for a comment., .