Iranian Workers Stage Nationwide Strike; More than 60 Companies Are Impacted 

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 at least 62 oil, gas, and petrochemical companies. It is the most extensive industrial action to date by the country’s oil workers.

Striking workers’ principal demands include higher wages, receiving their back pay, eliminating intermediary contractors, workplace safety and security, and implementing 2010 labor laws that give fixed-term contract workers 10 days off for every 20 workdays, a condition that is currently available to permanent workers only.

Workers across Iran have been clamoring for their rights for the last year. In July 2020, workers at 15 refineries, petrochemical companies, and power plants took part in a nationwide protest in July of last year.

The latest action, the “2021 Protest” campaign which was launched under the banner of “We Do Not Give Up Our Rights,” could grow in size and scope as more workers from a variety of industries and sectors join the industrial action.

On June 27, workers from various industries, including car manufacturing and power generation, joined the massive “2021 Protest” campaign. Permanent workers in the oil industry have said they will join the strike action on June 30.

The Gamma Construction Company, the Bushehr Petrochemical Company, the Ramin Power Plant in Ahvaz, the Diar Automobile Company, and the Shiraz Oil Refinery were among those whose workers joined the strike on June 27.

Contract workers at Abadan Refinery’s Phase 2 project, Nima Steel Radiography Testing Company, Consulting Engineers of Azmouneh Foulad Company, Pishtazan Ariya Radiography Company, Pishgaman Technologies Pars Radiography Company, and Regal Petrochemicals have also joined the nationwide strike action.

Fixed-term contract workers from some 62 oil industry companies have now joined the strike. According to sources in the oil workers’ union, tens of thousands of workers have stayed home or at their dormitories.

The Council for Organizing Contract Oil Workers’ Protests, which advocates the rights and demands of 41,000 contract workers in the oil industry, issued its second statement on June 26, which said: “During the recent protest, many of our colleagues have gone on strike and left their workplace and gone home. However, others have stayed in their dormitories. By increasing our numbers, we aim to draw attention to our demands.”

“We want to be involved in the decision-making process that helps to realize our demands,” the statement added. “We have seen that sometimes, the management of some companies has ruthlessly fired the striking day-workers and replaced them immediately.”

A striking worker told Kayhan Life that workers’ representatives had scheduled the industrial action the day after the presidential elections to prevent authorities from crushing protesters as part of heightened pre-election security measures.

Many institutions and organizations have offered their support to the striking workers, including “The Free Union of Iranian Workers (FUIW),” and “The Iranian Retirees Council,” a group of employed and retired teachers and families who seek justice for their loved ones killed during the nationwide protests in November 2019.

International media outlets and news agencies, including Reuters, have reported on the recent strikes in Iran. In addition, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an international labor union representing some 50 million workers in automobile manufacturing and steel, oil, gas, and petrochemical industries worldwide, issued a statement expressing its “solidarity” with the striking Iranian workers.

“To the workers in refineries and power plants who are staging a nationwide strike: I follow your solidarity and glorious unity in the widespread civil disobedience closely,” Iran’s Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi tweeted on June 26. “Continue your unity and solidarity until you have realized your rightful demands and know that the Iranian nation is with you.”

Iran Energy Workers Hold Wage Protests as Economy Hit by Economic Mismanagement, Sanctions

On the same day, former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi tweeted: “Labor strike in Iran’s oil sector could end the regime.”

“Localized strikes and protests are more common than most realize. Generally, they end on their own. However, when the collapse of the Islamic Republic begins, it is likely to begin here,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Norman Roule, a former officer at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as saying. “

Mr. Roule served for 34 years in the CIA and oversaw Middle East programs.

Sources inside Iranian labor unions have said that they had done their utmost to make it difficult for the security forces and the Judiciary to crush the strike and prevent workers from voicing their rightful demands. However, according to some reports, 700 workers employed by contractors at the Tehran Refinery have been fired.

The Energy Committee of the Majlis (Iranian Parliament) held an emergency meeting with senior officials at the Oil Ministry, the Planning and Budget Organization, and the General Inspection Office to discuss the recent events.

The following is a list of some of the refineries, oil projects, and petrochemical units whose contract and permanent workers have taken part in the “2021 Protest”:

  1. Fixed-term contract workers at Gachsaran Petrochemical Company

  2. Behbahan Bidboland Refinery, Phase 2 contractors of Shaloudeh Shayan

  3. Industrial Development Phase 14

  4. Bushehr Petrochemical Company, Gas Field Development Phase 14

  5. South Pars Oil and Gas Projects, Gas fields

  6. Sina Sanat-e Ahmadpour, ASU Unit

  7. Sadaf Petrochemical Company

  8. Khesht and Kenar Takhte Oil Company

  9. Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery, Ragan Petro Pars, Karami Contractors

  10. Jahan Pars Petrochemical Company

  11. Satrap Sanat Company

  12. Sina Palayesh (refinery) Company Qeshm

  13. Tavanmand Company, Phases 22 and 24

  14. Tehran Refinery Overhaul Project

  15. Bushehr, Farjood Site 1

  16. Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery

  17. Pars Phenol, and entire Pars Phenol Petrochemical workforce

  18. Assaluyeh Sina Sanat Company

  19. Bushehr Petrochemical Site 1, Samsam Sanat Contracting

  20. Tondguyan Refinery

  21. Dena Petrochemical Company

  22. Payandan Company at phase 14 of Assaluyeh

  23. Lidoma Company, Phase 13

  24. South Pars Phase 13 (Akhtar phase)

  25. Bushehr Petrochemical, welders of spherical tanks

  26. Machine Sazi Arak (Arak Machinery Manufacturing)

  27. Farab Engineering Company project at Bidkhoon Power Plant

  28. All permanent and fixed-term contract workers of phases 11, 12, 13 and 14 and contract-workers of the other 24 phases at Assaluyeh

  29. Abadan Refinery, as of July 1

  30. Kangan Phase 13

  31. Bidkhoon Refinery

  32. Abadan Refinery Company’s AJC Project

  33. Hajipour Contract Workers

  34. Qeshm Oil Company

  35. Marine operations of the Iranian Oil Terminals Company in Khark Island

  36. Sepahan Isfahan Cement (Complex Holding)

  37. AJC Company at Abadan Refinery’s Phase 2

  38. Instrument Loop Diagram (ILD) Electricity Company at Tonbak port

  39. Kayhan Pars

  40. Sazeh Pad Company

  41. Permanent oil workers in Abadan Refinery

  42. Tehran Jonoob (south) Company, Port of Mahshahr

  43. Petrosaz General Contractor working at Bandar Abbas Oil Company

  44. Mobin Sanat Rastin Company working in Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery

  45. Ramin Power Plant in city of Ahvaz

  46. Damavand Petrochemical

  47. D-Polymer Company at Assaluyeh Petrochemical Industries

  48. Butia Iranian Steel fixed-term contract workers in Kerman

  49. Farafan Construction Company in Qeshm

  50. Overhaul 15 and 16

  51. Jahrom Combined Cycle Power Plant

  52. Darya Sahel Jafir Company

  53. Radiograph workers Bidkhoon Power Plant strike

  54. Workers at Bandar Abbas Pumping Station-5

  55. Zolal Construction Company at Isfahan Refinery

  56. Jahan Pars in Ilam

  57. Pishro Sanat Company in in Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery

  58. Oil Design and Construction Company (ODCC) working at Isfahan Oil Refinery

  59. Gamma Construction Company

  60. Nima Steel Radiography Testing Company working at Abadan Refinery

  61. Pishtazan Ariya Radiography Company working at Abadan Refinery Phase 2

  62. Pishgaman Technologies Pars Radiography Company working at Abadan Refinery Phase 2

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