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Libya: strike at the main oil refinery

Melissa Graham

February 4, 2013

Workers at Libya's 220,000 barrels per day Ras Lanuf refinery have ended their strike at the end of January. Protests targeted the Zueitina terminal, which ships about 60,000-70,000 bpd, and have prevented any crude oil leaving the port since late December. Exports are expected to resume in mid-February. The workers’ demands included overtime pay and equal salaries for locals and foreign workers. It is not clear how well their demands were met at this time.
The refinery is Libya’s main oil refinery, and the strike is one of a series of strikes at oil installations in the country. Last fall, oil workers at Waha oil went on strike for two months and successfully removed a corrupt manager with ties to Gaddafi, despite attempts by Jibril’s regime to keep him in power.
If strikes and protests continue across the region they could expose the Western-backed neoliberal policies of the region, and continue pushing the Arab Spring forward. Though the strike was brief, we must remember the tremendous pressure these workers are under to produce oil for Western countries like ours. We can show solidarity by opposing our own government’s military and corporate intervention.

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