Home News Protests Oil Workers Across Iran Continue To Strike To Protest for Their Rights

Oil Workers Across Iran Continue To Strike To Protest for Their Rights

Iranian oil workers on strike (Image: Archive)

Following the two strikes last year, Iran’s contract oil workers threatened to resume strikes in March 2021 if their demands were not met by Iranian regime officials. As a result of the regime refusing to fulfill the demands, the second phase of strikes began as planned and has been continuing for the past 7 months, and is more widespread than before.

During the latest phase of strikes, protests have been held across 114 cities in Iran, involving tens of thousands of workers. As of October 2021, 40% of the workers are still continuing their strikes.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “They [the Iranian workers] 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.”

Former regime president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with other regime officials warned that ignoring the workers’ demands “will not carry good consequences.”

The President-elect of the NCRI, Maryam Rajavi called on the Iranian workforce and the youth to support the strikers in their fight. She said, “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.”

The NCRI said, “It is crucial to understand the workers’ demands, what they have achieved, their current situation, and what will happen in the future.”

Among the demands is the 10-20 campaign which calls for 10 days off for every 20 days of work. AS many of the workers live far from their place of work, the journey home and back leaves them with very few rest days.

Other demands include double wages at all levels; salaries no less than 12 million Tomans; job security with official contracts; the return of workers who were fired during the strikes; and calls for regime officials to end the inhumane situations at the worker camps.

In regards to the last demand, the camps where the workers reside during their shift days of work are lacking heavily in basic facilities. There is no heating or cooling equipment, a lack of dining facilities, barely any space for the workers to sleep, and in a dormitory for 100 workers, only 3 bathrooms are available. Along with the hardships in the camp, the workers’ salaries are routinely delayed causing further stress.

The NCRI said, “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.”

The Iranian regime has tried many times to intimidate or bribe workers in order to bring an end to the strikes. So far, around 60% of the workers have returned to employment to face the same issues that led them to strike in the first place, along with added pressures from their employers, and constant threats of being fired.

As Iran’s economy is dependent on oil, the strikes were a threat to the regime as the longer the strikes went on, the more impacted the economy would be. In November 1978, 37,000 workers at oil refineries went on strike in Iran, reducing production from 6 million BPD to 1.5 million BPD. As a result, the economy collapsed and this led to an increase in fuel prices around the world.

The NCRI said, “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.”

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