Jordan’s Phosphate Workers Plan Strike over Contract Dispute
Workers at the Jordan Phosphate Mines Co. have decided to stage a strike early next month to pressure the firm into honoring a contract signed last year, reported the Jordan Times on Tuesday.
According to Awad Tarawneh, head of the General Trade Union for Workers in Mining and Metal Industries, the company did not commit itself to an agreement signed between the firm and the union, under which the workers suspended a one-day strike last November.
He said the company and the union then agreed to allow the workers to benefit from the early retirement as well as an incentives scheme.
Tarawneh said that the company also promised that all workers would receive a JD5 increase on their monthly salaries once the firm managed to revamp its deteriorating financial situation and make profit.
The union leader said he thought the company was making a profit due to the "huge amounts of potash it is currently extracting."
"I work at the company's southern branches, and it is clear they have started making a profit," said Tarawneh.
The firm, once a major foreign currency earner, reported JD128 million in net losses last year, while its accumulating debts amounted to JD350 million, said the paper.
But the company's general director, Khalid Sheyyab, reiterated that the company was abiding by the agreement.
"There is no need for a strike," said Sheyyab. "We will study all their demands in our board meeting next week," he added.
"But we still cannot say we are making a profit...We are optimistic, but nothing is clear yet."
To help the company reduce costs and stand on its feet again, the government decided in July to slash the mining fees of the company from $5 per ton to $2 per ton.
The government is the major shareholder in the company, which exports most of its products to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Turkey and Bulgaria – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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