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A Glance at Iran Oil Workers’ Strike



Iran’s contract workers went on strike twice since last year. They began their first round of strikes in July 2020, which lasted for a month and a half. The workers threatened that if the regime officials refuse to fulfill their demands, they would resume their strike starting March 2021.

The oil workers ultimately started their second phase of the strike in March 2021. This time, the strike was more widespread than before. They started a campaign known as 10-20, which meant they would work for twenty days and have ten days paid leave and be considered as official workers. This campaign has continued to the day of this writing.

The new wave of strikes extended throughout Iran. Tens of thousands of workers held protests in 114 cities. Now over 40% of workers still continue their strike, and 60% have returned to work. The oil workers’ strike in Iran got wide media coverage worldwide, and many national and international workers’ unions supported the Iranian oil workers’ strike.

“Footage has spread across social media showing construction workers at 60 oil and petrochemical installations, largely in the country’s oil-rich south, walking off their jobs in protest,” AP reported on June 30.

The regime officials, including its former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also warned about the oil workers’ strike consequences.

“I warn all related authorities and officials that disregarding the protests of those who have found all usual forms to express their demands blocked will not carry good consequences,” he said.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI called on all workers and youth to support the strikers. She also underlined that “Repression and expulsion will intensify the workers and laborers anger against the anti-labor and inhuman regime, and adds to the public’s resolve to overthrow the regime and establish freedom and justice.”

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It is crucial to understand the workers’ demands, what they have achieved, their current situation, and what will happen in the future. Workers’ general demands include:

– Twenty days of work and ten days off: Since many workers live far from their workplace, they have to sleep at the location where they work. Hence, considering the long journey back home, they are only left with six to four days off.

– Double wages at all levels.

– The salary of a worker should not be less than 12 million Tomans, which considering the ever-rising inflation rate is at the edge of the official poverty level already.

– Return of fired workers during the strike.

– Job security: workers’ contracts should be written, formalized, and guaranteed at least until the end of the project.

– Contractors should be removed from the project, and workers should work for the parent company or Iran’s Oil Company.

– Officials should end the inhumane situation of camps where workers reside while working. Currently, workers are getting enough food to survive and they are treated like slaves. The camps lack any heating and cooling equipment. While workers work hard for 12-13 hours a day, they hardly find a place at the camp to sleep. In most of the refineries and facilities, there are three bathrooms in a dormitory for 100 workers. Most of the camps lack dining facilities. The boots that are given to the workers are only three to four sizes and are basically not appropriate for the workers’ feet. There are no detergents or alcohol at camps. Above all, workers’ salaries are constantly delayed despite these hardships.

Iran’s minimum wage policy is a dagger in workers’ backs

The status quo

The regime has appointed managers at Iran’s Oil Company that deprive workers of their basic rights. The government has officially announced that workers should deal with their managers and the contracting companies, not the government. As such it’s refusing to claim responsibility.

Besides, the Iranian regime has tried on many occasions to intimidate or bribe workers to prevent them from continuing their strikes. It has so far been able to force 60% of workers to return to their works. These workers face the same circumstances and are under pressure from their employers, while many are threatened to be fired.

Meanwhile, some official oil workers and employees went on strike.

List of workers in some centers who have joined the strike:

1- Contract workers of Gachsaran Petrochemical

2- Behbahan Bidboland Refinery Phase 2 Shayan Foundation Contracting

3- Civil Engineering of Phase 14 of South Pars, Assaluyeh

4- Bushehr Petrochemical, Elixir of Industry Phase 14

5- South Pars Oil and Gas Companies, Assaluyeh Gas Field

6- Sina Sanat Ahmadpour Company in ASU unit of Khuzestan province, Ahvaz city

7- Workers of “Sadaf” Persian Gulf Petrochemical Company, Tehran

8- Clay and Board oil company of Fars province, Kazerun

9- South Adish Refinery of Kangan Spherical and cylindrical tanks of Karami contracting and Rajan company

10 – Jahan Pars Petrochemical Company, Tehran

11- Satrap Sanat South Pars Company of Bushehr

12- Workers of Sina Qeshm Refining Company

13- Tavanmand Company, phases 22 and 24 of South Pars, Assaluyeh

14- Overhaul workers of Tehran oil refinery

15- Farjud in site 1 of Bushehr

16- Workers of Adish South Refinery in Tehran

17- Pars Phenol Kar and all Pars Phenol Petrochemical Forces of Sina Sanat Company in Assaluyeh

18- Bushehr Petrochemical Site 1 Samsam Sanat Contracting

19- Workers of Tondgovian refinery in Tehran

20- Dena Assaluyeh petrochemical workers

21- Workers of Jahan Pars Assaluyeh Company

22- Contract workers of Payndan company in phase 14 of Assaluyeh

23- Workers of phase 13 of Lidoma South Pars Company in Assaluyeh

24- Workers of phase 13 (Akhtar phase) of South Pars, Assaluyeh

25- Welding workers of Bushehr Petrochemical spherical tanks

26- Arak Machine Building

27- Farab Company project in Bidkhoon Assaluyeh power plant

28- All formal and informal workers of phases 11, 12, 13, and 14 and contract workers of the other 24 phases of Assaluyeh

29- Abadan refinery

30- Workers of phase 13 of Kangan

31- Workers of Bidkhoon Assaluyeh refinery

32- Project workers of EJC Abadan Refinery Company

33- Haji Portehran contract workers

34- Workers of Qeshm Oil Tanks Company

35- Marine operations of Iran Oil Terminals Company, Khark

36- Sepahan Isfahan Cement

37- Employed AGC Company, Abadan Refinery Phase 2

38- ILD Electricity and Instrumentation Company located in Tonbak port of South Pars Assaluyeh

39- Kayhan Pars Ahvaz

40- Padtehran Construction Company

41- Official oil workers in Abadan refinery

42- South Tehran Company located in Mahshahr port

43- Petroleum Company working in Bandar Abbas Oil Company

44- Mobin Sanat Company working in Adish Petro-Refining, Tehran

45- Rajan Company working in Tehran Adish Refinery

46- Employees of Ramin power plant in Ahvaz city

47- Damavand Bushehr Petrochemical

48- Dena Assaluyeh Petrochemical

49- D-Polymer Company in Assaluyeh Petrochemical Industries

50- Butia Steel contract workers in Kerman

51- Contract workers of Sazeh Farafan Qeshm Company

52- Workers of 2 Long Willow projects

53- Overhaul workers in Bushehr province

54- Jahrom Combined Cycle Power Plant Workers

55- Workers of Darya Sahel Jafir Company

56- Radiograph workers of Bidkhoon Assaluyeh power plant

57- Pump workers in Bandar Abbas No. 5

58- Contract workers of Isfahan refinery

59- Contract workers of Jahan Pars Ilam

60- Workers of Pishro Sanat Company in Adish Petro-Refinery, Tehran

61- Isfahan Oil Refinery ODCC workers

62- Gamma Assaluyeh workers

63- Radiograph workers of Nima Radiography Company of Azmoon Steel working in Abadan refinery

64- Pishtazan Aria Radiation Company workers in Abadan 2 refinery

65- Workers of Pishgaman Technologies Pars Radiography Company working in phase 2 of Abadan refinery

66- Workers of Gohar Zamin Company in Sirjan

67- Workers of Sadaf Jahanpars Assaluyeh project

68- Workers of Sazeh Pod Bushehr Company

69- Dehloran NGL3100 gas refinery workers

70- Gamma Jask workers

71- Lordegan Petrochemical workers

72- Parsian Lamerd gas refinery workers

73- Truck drivers of Dehloran Oil Company

74- Andimeshk power plant workers

75- Ardabil Petrochemical Workers Join General Strikes of Ardabil Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Workers

76- Gachsaran Oil Company employees

77- Welding workers working in Bidkhoon Assaluyeh power plant

78- Soltani and Heydari contractors working in Assaluyeh 64-inch line

79- Some workers of Niroo Gostar Minab Hormozgan Company

80- Workers of Darya Sahel Company, Rasht-Stara transmission line

81- Workers of Ahvaz Jafir refinery

82- Welding workers of Shimbar Company working in Tehran Tiran oil transmission pipeline

83- Chabahar Combined Cycle Power Plant Workers Strike Kianpour Forces Chabahar Power Plant Contracting

84- Zahedan 36 inch line

85- Line 48 of Kerman, Asia Haft Sang Kerman Company

86- Welding workers of Darya Sahel Rasht Company and fire drivers of Rasht

87- Firoozabad pump house workers

88- Iraj Faramarzi contract workers

89- Pisa workers in Iranshahr

90- Workers of Darya Sahel Company, Qeshm Line

91- Workers of Behdad Pasargad Fars Mines Company

92- ODCC workers of Abadan refinery

93- Workers of Arsan Tose’e Company, Tehran

94- Workers of Petunia Tehran Company

95- Kangan refinery workers

96- Workers of Avijeh Sanat Toos Company

97- Workers of Keyvan Hafshjan Izeh Khuzestan

98- Farhadi contract welding workers working in Chabahar

99- Workers of Behdad Pasargad Mine Company in Mashhad

100- Workers of the Civil Engineering Group, Sepahan, Isfahan Campus

101- Pouya Installation Company of Pars Isfahan

102- Isfahan Refinery Rugby Company

103- Contracting Elixir of Abadan Refinery Industry

104- Abadan Refinery SCAF Contracting

105- Abad Rahan Pars Bandabbas Company

106- Workers of Bostano power plant of Assaluyeh power installation company

107- Workers of Bostan power plant

The precedent

It is worth noting that since Iran’s economy is dependent on oil, oil workers’ strikes would significantly impact Iran’s economy. In November 1978, a strike consisting of 37,000 workers at Iran’s oil refineries reduced production from 6 million BPD to about 1.5 million BPD. Hence, Iran’s economy was paralyzed and later collapsed, rendering Shah’s regime unable to fuel its oppression. It should be noted that Iran’s last monarch was not under sanctions. Accordingly, the strikes led to an increase in fuel prices worldwide and caused fuel shortages and long lines at gas stations.

The Iranian regime’s oil export is under sanctions, significantly reducing Iran’s oil export revenue. The oil workers’ strike could further reduce the regime’s revenue, which the mullahs desperately need to fuel their warmongering machine and continue oppressing the Iranian people.