June 29, 2021

By Kayhan Life Staff

A nationwide strike by Iranian oil workers on fixed-term contracts — which started a day after the June 18 Iranian presidential elections — has spread to 80 oil, gas, and petrochemical companies.

It is the most extensive industrial action to date by the country’s oil workers.

More workers on fixed-term and permanent contracts in refineries, petrochemical facilities, and other businesses, including Diar Automobile Company, Ramin Power Plant in the city of Ahvaz, and Shiraz Refinery, joined the strike action on June 28.

In addition, many tank truck drivers that provide fuel to refineries have joined the strike; as a result, many gas stations around the country have been experiencing a fuel shortage.

Teachers, pensioners, and families who seek justice for their loved ones killed during the nationwide protests in November 2019 have also joined the striking workers.

The Tehran-based Defenders of Human Rights Center released a statement supporting the strike, describing it as an “action by the workers to achieve their rightful demands.”

The statement argued that low wages, poor work conditions, job insecurity, and nonexistent benefits had resulted from hyperinflation, high cost of living, rampant unemployment, factory closures, lack of access to independent trade unions, unfair salary scale, and construction monopoly.

The statement called on civil and political institutions and trade unions to join the industrial action and the workers’ struggle to achieve their rightful demands. In addition, defenders of the Human Rights Center have urged international organizations to support the striking Iranian oil workers.

Many trade unions in Iran and abroad have voiced their support for the striking workers in recent days.

“Many laborers work under hard conditions, and therefore, we support all workers and the trade unions, even though Iranian authorities do not recognize or support any trade unions,” a statement by the Oil Union Federation of Iraq released on June 28 said. “We urge the Iranian government to recognize the trade union movement in its entirety. We support all government and non-government workers. The striking Iranian workers demand better living conditions. We call on the Iranian government to meet workers’ demands.”

“We have seen an alarming rise in the number of protesters, intellectuals, and ethnic minorities whom Iranian authorities have executed,” a statement by Amnesty International on June 15 said.

Iran’s Supreme Judicial Council upheld the death sentences for eight people who had taken part in protests against the high cost of living. The initial verdict in court cases against Amir Hossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Saeed Tamjidi had sparked widespread protests, forcing the authorities to suspend their sentences temporarily.

Despite the regime’s brutal treatment of protesters, brave Iranian men and women continue their fight. Protests and industrial actions have only grown in size and scope in recent years. For example, male and female workers at Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-industrial Complex in the southwestern province of Khuzestan have been on strike for the past 50 days.

Some 80 trade unions worldwide released a statement titled “International Labor Network of Solidarity and Struggle”, supporting “a wave of strikes in Iran.”

“We stand in solidarity! The Covid-19 pandemic has badly affected Iran. According to a member of the French Socialist Solidarity with Workers in Iran, the hospitals in Iran are overwhelmed and lacking adequate resources. A large segment of the population is unemployed. Coronavirus continues to spread at an alarming rate in Iran. Country’s health system is under great pressure,” the statement said. “The country’s economic crisis affects millions of Iranians. The coronavirus epidemic has exasperated an already desperate situation caused by endemic corruption in the government, widespread unemployment, and hyperinflation. Iranians are under immense pressure resulted from the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The signatories to the statement included:

  1. Brazilian Workers’ and People’s Union (CSP-Conlutas) – Brazil

  2. General Confederation of Labor (CGT) – Spain

  3. Solidarity Union (Solidaires) – France

  4. General Confederation of Labor – (CGT-B) Burkina Faso

  5. Indonesian People’s Movement Confederation (KPRI) – Indonesia

  6. Trade Union Confederation – (Intersindical) Spain

  7. Independent National Union of Government Employees (SNAPAP) – Algeria

  8. Worker-Haiti battle

  9. Italian Trade Union (USI) – Italy

  10. French National Confederation of Workers – Workers’ Solidarity (CNT SO) – France

  11. Association of Basic Commissions (CO.BAS) – Spain

  12. Haiti Independent Public Workers’ Organization (OGTHI) – Haiti

  13. Interprofessional Syndicate (SI COBAS) – Italy

  14. National Confederation of Labor (CNT-f) – France

  15. Catalan Alternative Syndicate (IAC) – Spain

  16. General Union of Desert Workers (UGTSARIO) – Western Sahara

  17. Syndicate Left Synergy (ESK) – Basque

  18. National Confederation of Senegalese Workers (CNTS / FC) – Senegal

  19. Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) – Egypt

  20. Workers’ Self-Management Syndicate – (SIAL-COBAS) Italy

  21. General Federation of Independent Trade Unions (GFIU) – Palestine

  22. Confederation of the Working Class (CCT) – Paraguay

  23. Workers’ Solidarity Network – Peru

  24. Progressive Trade Union Confederation of Niger (USPT) – Niger

  25. National Union of Independent Trade Unions of Senegal (UNSAS) – Senegal

  26. National Union for the Defense of the Working Class (UNT) – El Salvador

  27. Labor Solidarity (SO) – Spain

  28. National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers – (RMT / TUC) UK

  29. National Employee Center – Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (CNE / CSC) – Belgium

  30. National Union of Agricultural Workers (SINALTRAINAL / CUT) – Colombia

  31. General Federation of Post, Telephone and Telecommunications – General Labor Union (FGPTT / UGTT) – Tunisia

  32. Trade Union – Greek Financial Workers’ Union

  33. National Union of Human Health Workers (SYNTRASEH) – Benin

  34. Futures Workers Union (ASFOC-SN) – Brazil

  35. Independent Railway Trade Unions (ORSA Ferrovie) – Italy

  36. National Union of Teachers (UNNOH – Haiti

  37. United Federation of Basic University Research Staff (CUB SUR) – Italy

  38. United Confederation of Migrant Workers (CUB Immigrazione) – Italy

  39. Coordination of Transport Self-Management (CAT) Italy

  40. United Confederation of Credit and Insurance Employees (CUB SALLCA) – Italy

  41. Railway Workers’ Union – National Trade Union (SYTRAIL / UNTM) – Finance

  42. Food Industry Workers’ Union – Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (GIDA-IŞ / DISK) – Turkey

  43. National Union of Small Blue Train Workers (SNTPTB) – Senegal

  44. National Association of Social Security Fund Employees (ANFACSS) – Panama

  45. Council of High Schools (CLA) – Algeria

  46. United Confederation of Transport (CUB Trasporti) – Italy

  47. Higher Education Solidarity Association (SESS) – Algeria

  48. Palestinian Postal Service Workers Union (PPSWU) – Palestine

  49. Student Union (USE) – Belgium

  50. Telecommunication Workers Union (STCC) – Portugal

  51. Oil Industry Workers Union (Sinutapetrolgas) – Venezuela

  52. Mexican Health and Government Employees Union

  53. Canadian Postal Workers Union (STTP) – Canada

  54. Independent Postal Workers’ Union (SAP) – Switzerland

  55. National Federation of Education Journalists (SUTEChili)

  56. National Platform of Professional Public Sector Organizations – Ivory Coast

  57. Union of Congress, Liverpool (TUC Liverpool) – England

  58. ORMA Brescia – Italy

  59. SUD Federation of Government Services, Canton of Vaud (SUD Vaud) – Switzerland

  60. Union of Catalonia (Metro SU) – Catalonia

  61. Tuzla and Izmir Leather Manufacturers Association (DERİ-İŞ Tuzla et Izmir) – Turkey

  62. Swiss Canton Interprofessionnel (L’autre Syndicat)

  63. Public Service Syndicate, City of Brussels (CGSP / FGTB Brussels) – Belgium

  64. Internationalist workers’ Metal Berlin (IG Metal Berlin) – Germany

  65. University of Buenos Aires, Bahia Blanca (SUTEBA / CTA de Bahia Blanca) – Argentina

  66. Private Oil and Gas Industry Workers Union (Chubut – / CGT) – Argentina

  67. UCU Liverpool University and College Staff Association – UK

  68. World Industrial Workers – International Solidarity Commission – (IWW)

  69. International Information Exchange – (Germany)

  70. International Orientation (Liberation) – France

  71. Global Monitoring Tracker (GMO) – Hong Kong

  72. Revolutionary Syndicalist Orientation (CSR) – France

  73. Socialist Solidarity with Workers in Iran (SSTI) – France

  74. Basic Solidarity Initiative (BASO) – Germany

  75. Workers’ protests, Fiat airbus workers – Italy

  76. Workers’ Union of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company – Iran

  77. International Commission for International Solidarity of Industrial Workers (IWW)

  78. First Class Social Trade Union – Buenos Aires, Argentina

  79. National Association of Human Rights Defenders – Palestine

  80. Globalization Monitor (GM) – Hong Kong


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