Jordanians are calling on the government to raise the country’s minimum wage at an earlier date, claiming that the current standard does not comply with the surge in inflation and is well below the poverty line.
Minister of Labor Nadia Al-Rawabdeh said on Tuesday a decision has been made to keep the minimum wage unchanged for the year 2024, standing currently at 260 dinars (around 366 U.S. dollars) per month.
According to the state-run Petra news agency on Tuesday, the government will re-evaluate the minimum wage in the first ten days of 2025 and will link it to the average inflation registered in the country between 2022-2024.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Jordan Labor Watch, a program aiming to improve work conditions for workers in Jordan, said the decision to link the minimum wage to inflation only in 2025 contradicted the targets of the economic reform announced by the government last year, which includes improving the quality of people’s life.
Increasing minimum wage levels is one of the most important elements that help achieve a decent standard of living for citizens, said the statement.
Echoing the view, Khaled Fathi, a member of the Jordan Professional Associations and also a labor rights activist, told Xinhua that the minimum wage is well below the poverty line in Jordan, which stands at around 480 dinars (around 677 dollars) per month per household.
“People have to pay for the rent, transportation, food and many other commodities. While inflation is increasing, and this minimum wage is very low and insufficient,” he said.
“For people to have good living standards, minimum wage needs to be linked to inflation immediately,” Fathi added.
Mohammed Sheekh, an economic analyst at the Amman-based Waai Center for Strategic Studies, said the decision to increase the minimum wage should be activated immediately taking into account the current economic conditions.
“The current minimum wage is very low but the cost of living in Jordan is on the rise,” Sheekh told Xinhua. “Delaying the increase of the minimum wage would hurt everyone amidst a surge in prices.”
According to the latest figures by the Department of Statistics, inflation went up to 108.95 points in the January-November period of 2023, compared with 106.68 in the same period in 2022, recording an increase of 2.13 percent.
The increase in inflation was driven by fuel and electricity, contributing to 6.76 percent of the rise, as well as the rising costs of dairy products, eggs, culture and entertainment, furniture, carpets, etc. ■