Jordan unions strike over proposed tax law

Jordan unions strike over proposed tax law

Jordan unions strike over proposed tax law

Jordanian unions staged a nationwide strike on June 6 over IMF-backed austerity measures including a proposed income tax law that has sparked a week of angry demonstrations.

Doctors staged a walkout from hospitals at 9:00 a.m. local time and strike until mid-afternoon, said Ali al-Abous, head of Jordan’s doctors’ union and trade union federation.

“We are striking to send a message to the new government [to] drop the income tax draft law and hold a national dialogue on it,” he told AFP.

Lawyers were set to be present at courts in their official black robes, but would not present cases, he said.

Jordan’s main federation of unions also called for a protest outside its headquarters.Shops are also set to shut, although many would anyway be closed during the morning due to the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Protests continued overnight despite King Abdullah II’s call for a full review of the proposed tax law, which has yet to be approved by parliament.Demonstrators gathered in Amman after breaking their Ramadan fast, jostling with police and waving Jordanian flags.     

Trade unions said a review of the law was a “positive” step but nonetheless called for a general strike on June 6.

In a letter charging new premier Omar al-Razzaz with forming a government, King Abdullah II said it “must carry out a comprehensive review of the tax system” to avoid “unjust taxes that do not achieve justice and balance between the incomes of the poor and the rich”.

Late on June 4, the king had warned Jordan was “at a crossroads”, blaming the economic woes on regional instability, the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and a lack of international support.