(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Around 250 people gathered outside the Parliament building in Amman on Wednesday to protest against the 2010 amendments to the Social Security Law.
Five unions organised the two-hour protest, including the General Trade Union of Petroleum and Chemical Workers, the Trade Union for Workers in Mining and Metal Industries, the Electricity Workers Union, the Construction Workers Union and the General Union of Air Transport and Tourism.
The demonstrators threatened to hold an open-ended strike after the protest until lawmakers meet their demands.
Representatives of the unions, however, submitted a list of demands to Lower House Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi, who referred them to the Lower House Labour Committee, according to Electricity Workers Union President Ali Hadid.
As a result, the protesters dispersed to give lawmakers time to discuss the temporary law and find solutions that would satisfy workers.
Meanwhile, Hadid described the law as "unfair".
"This law deprives people of their essential rights. For example, it is unfair that the law raised the retirement age from 45 to 50," he told The Jordan Times outside Parliament.
Another protester, Mohammad, who refused to reveal his full name, agreed, adding that the law should enable workers who want to retire early to do so at the age of 45.
"The 2001 Social Security Law allowed us to retire early. We are working in dangerous fields and are waiting anxiously to turn 45 so that we can retire early and rest. Now we have to wait until we turn 50," the 36-year-old construction worker said.
Mohammad argued that workers in manual fields like construction should be allowed to retire early because the physical strain they endure on a daily basis makes it difficult for them to work into their late 40s or 50s.
"We become elderly at the age of 45 because of our job," he stressed.
Khaled Ziud, head of the General Trade Union of Petroleum and Chemical Workers, indicated that the new way in which pensions are calculated is unfair and causes workers financial hardship.
"Under the temporary law, a worker's pension is calculated based on his salary during the past five years, whereas in the old version, it was the last two years of work," Ahmad Tarawneh, an employee at the Jordan Steel Company, elaborated, arguing that this system does not guarantee workers fair pensions.
Bassam Abbadi, another protester, also expressed dissatisfaction with the maternity insurance introduced under the amended law.
The 2010 law established a fund for maternity benefits, which gives working mothers around 70 days paid leave when they give birth, but can only be collected four times in one woman's lifetime.
"This is not fair at all; they should not have limited the number of maternity leaves. Perhaps they want to control the birth rate in Jordan," Abbadi said.
Hadid stressed that if the five unions do not see any real action from the House committee, they intend to go ahead with an open-ended strike.