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Statement of the Tudeh Party of Iran: Call for Global Support for and Solidarity with the Extensive Strike Movement of Thousands of Project Workers in Iran’s Oil Industry and Associated Industries!

Call for Global Support for and Solidarity with the Extensive Strike Movement of Thousands of Project Workers in Iran’s Oil Industry and Associated Industries!

To the World’s Communist and Worker Parties and International Trade Union Organisations:

According to credible reports received from labour-oriented groups and activists within the popular movement in Iran, a powerful new strike has been launched by project workers operating in the oil and gas fields, petrochemical complexes, power plants, and industrial projects in the southern region of the country. So far, nearly 20,000 workers have joined the strike.

This year’s campaign, referred to as the “14-14 Campaign,” is part of a series of strike actions by project workers that started four years ago. Over 110,000 project workers took part in the strikes in the second year, forcing both the government and employers to accede to their demands. The government even agreed to restrict and halt the operation of contract employment agencies (human resource brokers). However, due to the Iranian regime’s political and legal constraints on the presence and effective functioning of labour unions, none of the workers’ demands have been realized thus far. The Ministry of Labour and state authorities have practically evaded the implementation of the agreements.

The planned strike of project workers, which was being talked about for weeks, was kicked off on June 20 following a precise and calculated plan drawn up by seasoned labour activists and trade unionists and the core demands of workers operating in critical oil facilities and key industrial projects was set forth. According to the reports released by the trade union activists on the ground, 3,000 workers spanning 30 different companies and projects, ranging from various phases of Asaluyeh projects to Dasht-e Abbas, from Bandar Jask to the refineries in Isfahan, have joined the strike. These included welders hired by “Steam” company at the Islamabad Gharb petrochemical plant to welders and assembly workers at “Sadra” company in Bandar Jask, all uniting under the strike’s banner.

The main demands of the project workers at refineries, petrochemical plants, and other oil and gas complexes and power plants include the elimination of employment agencies acting as intermediary human resource contracting companies between the workers and the oil and gas companies, implementation of a work schedule of 14 days on the job followed by 14 days off (similar to what is established for permanent employees), wage increases based on the tables provided by the “Project Workers’ Demands Campaign” consistent with work experience, job complexity, education, technical skills, and job site region. Workers are also demanding improvements in living conditions, enhanced cleanliness and sanitation in dormitories, better food quality in canteens, and improved transportation services to and from the “site”, both in terms of safety and installation of effective air conditioning and ventilation where temperatures exceed 50 degrees Celsius in the region.

According to the field reports released as of this morning, a staggering 19,000 project workers from 86 companies operating within the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries have joined the strike. It is expected that thousands more will join in the upcoming days. The reports suggest that the strikes are gaining momentum and it is anticipated that more workers from other parts of the oil and gas industry will join the unified ranks of the strike actions. On Saturday June 22nd, the Council for Organizing Non-Permanent Oil Workers’ Protests (Third Pillar) asserted its unison and solidarity with the Project Workers’ Demands Campaign and called on the Third Pillar workers and all other workers across various sectors to join the nationwide oil strikes. This plea is made amid the release of multiple reports detailing that workers are being threatened with dismissal and “blacklisting.” Employers are trying to dissuade workers from participating in the strikes by using threats, intimidation, and deceitful offers. Under the current complex political situation in Iran, it is imperative that the oppressive regime and employers are not allowed to disregard and mistreat the legal and legitimate demands of workers by exerting pressure and depravation upon them.

The Tudeh Party of Iran supports the current legitimate strike action of project workers in Iran’s oil and gas industries. The Tudeh Party of Iran urges the communist and worker parties and international trade union organizations worldwide to actively support the workers and working people of Iran and to express solidarity with their just struggle for peace, legitimate rights, trade union freedoms, and social justice.

 

The Tudeh Party of Iran

25 June 2024

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