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.”
به کارگران پالایشگاهها و نیروگاهها که این روزها در #اعتصاب_سراسری هستند: همبستگی و اتحاد غرورآفرین شما در این نافرمانی مدنی فراگیر را از نزدیک دنبال میکنم. این اتحاد و همبستگی را تا رسیدن به خواستههای به-حقتان حفظ کنید. بدانید که ملت ایران در کنار شماست. pic.twitter.com/JmDGm3DyR5
— Reza Pahlavi (@PahlaviReza) June 26, 2021
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. “
Labor strikes in Iran‘s oil sector could end regime https://t.co/M7g7uuNO2T
— Giulio Terzi (@GiulioTerzi) June 26, 2021
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”:
Fixed-term contract workers at Gachsaran Petrochemical Company
Behbahan Bidboland Refinery, Phase 2 contractors of Shaloudeh Shayan
Industrial Development Phase 14
Bushehr Petrochemical Company, Gas Field Development Phase 14
South Pars Oil and Gas Projects, Gas fields
Sina Sanat-e Ahmadpour, ASU Unit
Sadaf Petrochemical Company
Khesht and Kenar Takhte Oil Company
Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery, Ragan Petro Pars, Karami Contractors
Jahan Pars Petrochemical Company
Satrap Sanat Company
Sina Palayesh (refinery) Company Qeshm
Tavanmand Company, Phases 22 and 24
Tehran Refinery Overhaul Project
Bushehr, Farjood Site 1
Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery
Pars Phenol, and entire Pars Phenol Petrochemical workforce
Assaluyeh Sina Sanat Company
Bushehr Petrochemical Site 1, Samsam Sanat Contracting
Dena Petrochemical Company
Payandan Company at phase 14 of Assaluyeh
Lidoma Company, Phase 13
South Pars Phase 13 (Akhtar phase)
Bushehr Petrochemical, welders of spherical tanks
Machine Sazi Arak (Arak Machinery Manufacturing)
Farab Engineering Company project at Bidkhoon Power Plant
All permanent and fixed-term contract workers of phases 11, 12, 13 and 14 and contract-workers of the other 24 phases at Assaluyeh
Abadan Refinery, as of July 1
Kangan Phase 13
Abadan Refinery Company’s AJC Project
Hajipour Contract Workers
Qeshm Oil Company
Marine operations of the Iranian Oil Terminals Company in Khark Island
Sepahan Isfahan Cement (Complex Holding)
AJC Company at Abadan Refinery’s Phase 2
Instrument Loop Diagram (ILD) Electricity Company at Tonbak port
Sazeh Pad Company
Permanent oil workers in Abadan Refinery
Tehran Jonoob (south) Company, Port of Mahshahr
Petrosaz General Contractor working at Bandar Abbas Oil Company
Mobin Sanat Rastin Company working in Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery
Ramin Power Plant in city of Ahvaz
D-Polymer Company at Assaluyeh Petrochemical Industries
Butia Iranian Steel fixed-term contract workers in Kerman
Farafan Construction Company in Qeshm
Overhaul 15 and 16
Jahrom Combined Cycle Power Plant
Darya Sahel Jafir Company
Radiograph workers Bidkhoon Power Plant strike
Workers at Bandar Abbas Pumping Station-5
Zolal Construction Company at Isfahan Refinery
Jahan Pars in Ilam
Pishro Sanat Company in in Southern ADISH Gas Condensate Refinery
Oil Design and Construction Company (ODCC) working at Isfahan Oil Refinery
Gamma Construction Company
Nima Steel Radiography Testing Company working at Abadan Refinery
Pishtazan Ariya Radiography Company working at Abadan Refinery Phase 2
Pishgaman Technologies Pars Radiography Company working at Abadan Refinery Phase 2