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Stalemate continues at Morocco’s only oil refinery

5 February, 2016A thousand workers at Morocco’s sole oil refinery are still in the dark about their future after the plant suspended production in August 2015 owing huge debts.

IndustriALL Global Union has written to management at the SAMIR refinery calling for production to resume and asked the government of Morocco to intervene to find a solution. 

Shortly after the shut down, Morocco’s tax administration seized SAMIR’s assets in pursuit of US$1.3 billion in unpaid taxes and social charges.

In October, a billion-dollar rescue package agreed by the company's general assembly could not be raised.

The SAMIR refinery, situated near Casablanca, produced 200,000 barrels per day. It is controlled by Saudi-owned Corral Petroleum Holdings, which has a 67 per cent stake in the plant.

The workers have been receiving their salaries up until now, but how long this can continue for is uncertain. Meanwhile, 5,000 people whose jobs depend on the oil refinery are suffering as Morocco resorts to importing all its petroleum.

IndustriALL affiliate, Syndicat National des Industries du Pétrole & Gaz Naturel (SNIPGN-CDT), is the key union at the refinery. General secretary, Hussien Elyamani, said:

“We are worried about the future of the workers at SAMIR and call on the Moroccan state to enter into serious negotiations with the owner of the refinery in order to settle this dispute for the best interest of all parties, especially workers.” 

In 2015, Corral’s CEO, Sheikh Mohamed Houssein El Amoudi, was listed by Forbes as Saudi Arabia’s second richest man with a personal wealth of US$10.8 billion.