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3,600 oil workers in Jordan prepare to strike

21 March, 2014The General Union of Petroleum & Chemical Workers in Jordan has spent several weeks trying to get the government to respond to the demands raised by 3,600 workers representing the total workforce of Jordan's only oil refinery. The government's refusal to enter into dialogue has left them with no other option than to announce a full strike for 24 March.

Two years ago, IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the General Union of Petroleum & Chemical Workers signed a collective agreement with the management on improving working conditions and increasing wages. However, management has failed to properly implement the agreement and has ignored the negotiations with the workers’ representatives.

Members of the Jordanian parliament recently intervened and urged the government as well as the management of the refinery to negotiate with the workers. The first round of the discussions managed to bring parties to an agreement on guidelines on wage increases and improving work conditions. However, a final agreement proves difficult to reach as the management fails to respond to workers demands.

Khaled Elzyood, president of General Union of Petroleum & Chemical Workers, says:

"We have announced our strike after receiving no response to our fair demands regarding improving economic, social, health and environmental conditions of our members. Our workers suffer hazardous working conditions and injustice. We will continue our strike until our demands are met. We also hold the government responsible for any negative consequences of the strike that may harm the country economic interests and Jordanian peoples living."

Kemal Özkan, assistant general secretary IndustriALL Global Union, is clear on the global union’s strong support of the Jordan workers’ demands:

We welcome the parliament’s intervention and the government’s initiative to dialogue at this delicate stage. We strongly urge the government to conduct serious negotiations that will lead to an enforceable agreement.