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Suicide of Six Workers at the Chouvar Ilam Petrochemical Plant Due To Dire Economic Conditions

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NCRI logoPlundering workers and toilers by Ali Khamenei and IRGC; response to labor protests with dismissal and suppression

According to the state-run ILNA news agency on December 24, “On Thursday, December 21, two contract workers at the Chouvar Ilam Petrochemical Plant, named Javad Norouzi and Mostafa Abbasi, hung themselves inside their workplace. The plant manager issued a mass dismissal, finalizing the expulsion of 13 workers on Thursday. On the same day Javad and Mostafa hung themselves inside the factory, showing that their family issues were not the reasons behind their suicides.”

It is worth remembering that in the past, four workers from this plant, Mohammad Mansouri, Ali Mohammad Karimi, Arash Tabarrok, and Heydar Mohseni, had also taken their own lives.

The workers in this factory, like those in all institutions under the authority of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the criminal Revolutionary Guards, are deprived of the rights outlined in the oppressive labor laws of the regime. These employers unilaterally take any action against the workers.

The situation even worsens for economic institutions and factories that have been handed over to the regime’s authorities under the guise of privatization at very low prices. The new employers cancel all previous contracts, force workers into “Temporary contracts” through coercion, and threaten expulsion. This is happening while, according to Article 12 of the regime’s labor law, “Any legal change in the ownership status of a workplace, such as a sale or transfer in any form, changes in the type of production, or a merger with other institutions, does not affect workers with established contracts.”

According to ILNA’s report, while the workers at Chouvar Ilam Petrochemical Plant have “8 to 18 years of work experience,” their salaries range from 100 to 120 million rials. However, according to Mohammad Bagheri, a member of the regime’s parliamentary economic commission, the “poverty line in Tehran has reached 300 million rials.”

As per the Iranian Statistics Center’s report on Arman Emrooz’s website on October 11, “lamb meat with a price growth of 149.2%, veal with a price growth of 128.2%, and canned tuna with a price growth of 108.2% compared to September of last year” lead the inflation rates.”

According to the Tasnim news agency on December 25, the inspector of the Supreme Council of Workers stated: “The level of labor wages in Iran is among the bottom ten countries globally, while labor wages in neighboring countries are much higher.”

Workers with 10 to 18 years of work experience are mercilessly dismissed, even without payment of “severance pay” mandated by the regime’s labor law. According to Articles 24 and 27 of the regime’s labor law, in case of “termination of the contract” or even “violation of workplace disciplinary regulations” by the worker leading to their expulsion, the employer is obliged to pay the worker the equivalent of one month’s last salary as severance pay and terminate the employment contract.

These days, we witness the protests of workers at the Ahvaz National Steel Group against the dismissal of 21 of their colleagues. In addition, workers are vehemently protesting the non-payment of their claims and, on December 23 and 24, clashed with suppressive security mercenaries.

While the noble and hardworking workers are deprived of basic livelihoods and shelter, their ruthless exploitation, oppression, and plunder by Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards have crossed many boundaries. In a sample from the government-affiliated newspaper Setareh Sobh on December 23, it was reported that “150 hectares of agricultural land and a 1,000-head livestock farm were handed over to the daughter-in-law of Seyyed Mehdi Khamoushi, the head of endowments” at a very low rent. The article further stated, “If the list of recipients of preferential exchange rates, i.e., 4,200 rials and 28,500 rials, is published, many facts and backstage activities will be revealed.”

The experience of the past 44 years shows that as long as the criminal and predatory regime of the mullahs is in power, the ruthless exploitation of workers, the oppression of hardworking people, and the plunder of the people’s capital, along with the suppression of protesters, will intensify every day. The only way to end poverty, unemployment, and corruption is the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime and the establishment of democracy and the rule of the people.

The Labor Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran once again calls on labor unions, worker associations, as well as the International Labor Organization, and other relevant international organizations to condemn the regime’s oppressive actions against workers by the mullahs and support the struggles of Iranian workers for their basic rights.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

December 26, 2023