Thousands of workers in Iran's oil and gas industries have downed tools in protest over low wages and shoddy working conditions.
The strike action was called by the Iranian contract oil workers’ union and could last for up to a week.
Two days after the call went out on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, images posted online showed employees in Tehran, Kangan, Behbahan, Gachsaran, Bushehr, Abadan, and Isfahan, had taken part in the walkout.
The affected industrial complexes include Tehran Oil Refinery, Phase 13 of Assaluyeh, the Jahanpars Company, Bidboland Refinery at Behbahan, and Gachsaran Petrochemical Plant.
The labor rights body, known as the Council for Organizing Protests of Contract Oil Workers, had issued its demands in a statement on June 20 published by the Free Trade Union. They were as follows:
- The wage of any oil industry workers should not fall below 12 million tomans ($550) and should increase according to inflation and increases at other salary bands, as agreed by workers' representatives;
- The timely payment of wages;
- Removal of subcontractors in favor of direct, permanent contracts with employees;
- The prohibition of workers’ undue dismissal;
- The abolition of “slave-type laws” in Iran’s free economic zones;
- The observance of health, environmental and workplace safety standards and improved sanitary standards at workers’ dormitories and health services;
- An end to the “security atmosphere” in the workplace and recognition of workers’ rights of association, assembly and protest.
The strike marks a break with the trend of declining industrial action in recent years due to the heavy-handed manner in which protests have been dealt with by the Islamic Republic.