Why have official oil workers joined the livelihood protests in Iran?
Iran’s official oil workers have been holding protest rallies in various cities for three days since last week. Following a nationwide rally by oil and gas workers last summer, a wave of protests has resumed since last week. Official oil workers have held several rallies in various oil-rich cities since last week.
As one of the Mahshahr union activists stated, they are also looking to hold a nationwide rally with their families. If last summer’s rallies and strikes were held with the participation of oil and gas workers and contract workers of these companies, this year the official oil workers have been added to the protest, protesting against their employment’s situation and wages their low wages.
The basis of the protests of the official oil employees is Article 10 of the Law on Duties and Authorities of the Ministry of Oil. Although according to this article, the payment system of oil industry employees is exempted from the Civil Service Management Law, but in Article (1), Part A, Note 12 of this year’s budget law, it is specified that the wages will increase by 25 percent.
And it is also noted that the wages of the different salary groups of the executive bodies of Article (29) of the Sixth Development Plan Law in relation to 2020 should be applied in such a way that the amount of this salary increase does not exceed 2.5 million Tomans.
According to a law passed in the parliament for 2021 payments, two salary ceilings have been set for employees. One of these two ceilings, which is in fact the salary ceiling set for senior and middle managers of government employees, is 33.5 million tomans, which is 15 times the ceiling set for the minimum wage of employees.
Another salary ceiling is over 33.5 million tomans for those who received this amount in previous years. So, in fact, what has happened is that the salary ceiling of official oil employees has been set at 33.5 million tomans, and those who received more than this amount last year received salaries above 33.5 million tomans this year. But some of the official oil employees, including senior and middle managers and employees working in the operational sector, have not received more than 33 million tomans this year, and now these people are protesting this level of wages.
Although some tried to show that the rallies and protests formed were due to the extravagance of these employees and called them ‘astronomical salaries’ by highlighting the salaries of some of the official oil workers protesting, but the reality remained hidden. On the one hand, hard working conditions, having not the right to create organization, exhausting retirement conditions and long shifts in the insecure and high-risk conditions of these employees were ignored.
Employees who attended rallies and protested the conditions of their salaries were not limited to those who received more than 30 million tomans. Rather, more than 90 percent of official oil workers have not been included in the 25 percent salary increase approved this year.
A group of protesting employees of the Persian Gulf Holding Company are among the same employees who held rallies in the Special Economic Zone of Bandar Imam Khomeini Petrochemical Company to protest the non-implementation of their 25 percent wage increase plan. According to these employees, there are more than 5,000 official employees of the Ministry of Oil in the Persian Gulf Holding located in this region, who want to get a 25% percent salary increase, in accordance with the laws of the Ministry of Labor.
Resolutions of the Parliamentary Consolidation Commission in the 2021 budget have led to significant restrictions in the salaries of official oil workers.