(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Jafr residents are preventing operations at phosphate mines and a chemicals-producing firm in Eshidiya by cutting off electricity and disrupting water supplies.
According to workers at the Indo-Jordan Chemicals Company (IJC) and the mines of Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC), residents demanding jobs have set up a tent since Sunday morning near Al Jafr water basin, preventing anyone from reconnecting the electricity.
"Strikes are problematic to companies and affect their profitability, especially in the long-run", Zu'bi Al Zu'bi, chairman of the Business Management Department at the University of Jordan, told The Jordan Times in a telephone interview on Monday.
Commenting on the sit-in by Al Jafr residents, he said: "They have the right to protest but not to sabotage private property," describing this as a kind of extortion.
IJC employs 400 workers whereas 4,000 are employed at the JPMC mines.
While IJC sells chemical products to 23 local factories across the Kingdom and is engaged in several export agreements, JPMC produces around 6 million tonnes of phosphate rock per year.
Of this quantity, two million tonnes are consumed to meet the needs of the IJC and the Aqaba Fertiliser Complex and the remaining four million tonnes are exported to around 20 countries.
The IJC and the 23 local factories will incur heavy losses due to suspension of operations, an IJC official said, noting that the inoperative water wells belong to the JPMC.
"When you do not produce, you will continue to bear costs. And with production stoppage, the businesses will incur heavy financial losses," the IJC official added indicating that this is the third time Jafr residents have disrupted the operations in the past thirty days.
The protesters have so far refused to end their sit-in until the JPMC director meets with them while Maan Governor Abdul Kareem Rawajfeh is scheduled to meet with them today, in a step to end the stalemate, according to the governor's office.
In rural and remote areas, companies should win residents' loyalty, Zu'bi pointed out, emphasising the importance of corporate social responsibility and the need to raise public awareness on investments' indirect benefits to local communities.
Jafr, located around 300 kilometres from Amman and 60 kilometres from Maan and inhabited by around 5,000 persons, has two public schools with few small shops, according to a local resident.
Official figures put unemployment rate in Jordan at around 13 per cent. It is expected to be much higher, especially in the remote areas.