Today, Tuesday, August 4, 2020, the largest labor strike in the 41-year history of the Islamic Republic entered its fourth day. Workers in refineries, gas and petrochemical industries in the south of the country had been on strike since Saturday, August 1. Today, workers at Isfahan refinery joined the strike. Thus, the five provinces of Fars, Isfahan, Khuzestan, Hormozgan and Bushehr today saw workers stop working in the most vital part of Iran’s economy.
Photos and videos published on social media show the workers’ strikes have also spread to the South Pars power plant in Bidkhoon, Assaluyeh.
Today, laborers of Phase 14 of South Pars also shared a video on social media showing the closure of the center.
The strike started from Abadan refinery, phases 22 and 24 of South Pars refineries of Kangan, Kangan petroleum refinery, Parsian refinery, Qeshm heavy oil and Lamerd petrochemical and reached Isfahan refinery today. Abadan, Ahvaz, Kangan, Lamerd, Qeshm, Mahshahr were among the cities that witnessed this largest labor strike in the country today.
The only way to get rid of poverty & deprivation, is what the workers of these centers undertook.
In Mahshahr, more than 600 workers of Razi Petrochemical Company staged a protest rally. Simultaneously with the strikes in the southern and central regions of the country, today reports were published online that the workers of the Mashhad Mapna Boiler Combined Cycle Power Plant had joined the nationwide strikes. The workers of this center stopped working in protest of the living conditions and the failure to address their union demands.
While the wave of labor strikes is growing rapidly and spreading to other industries in the country, concerns about the regime’s use of its repressive machine have intensified among political activists in response to the workers’ legitimate protests. That is why today, 14 independent organizations from different social classes and spheres issued a statement in support of oil, gas and petrochemical workers’ strike movement. “A general strike is the only way” is the final sentence of this statement, the full text of which we share with you:
Saturday, August 1, 2020, was a different day in the history of the Iranian labor struggle. As the vigorous and powerful struggles and strikes of the Haft Tappeh workers, who have been protesting on the streets for 50 days now, continued, widespread and simultaneous strikes took place in several large production and vital centers.
Workers of Abadan Oil Refineries, Qeshm Heavy Oil Refinery, Parsian, South Pars Gas Refinery Phases 22 to 24 in Kangan, Lamerd Petrochemical, Pars Phenol Petrochemical, Kangan Petroleum Refinery and Hepco workers are protesting against non-payment of arrears and low wages and are on strike.
The occurrence of such large-scale strikes in one day and in the most sensitive production centers, promises the beginning of general and nationwide strikes.
For years, Iranian workers have been shouting in protest against the non-payment of arrears and low wages in the face of unbridled inflation and high prices. Their demands have not been met and they have been repressed, summoned, arrested and fired.
Workers continue to face arrears. Their wages are 5 times below the poverty line. Many of their colleagues, activists and strike leaders are still under pressure and in prison.
Iranian workers have gone through a long period of struggle to reach today’s conditions. Today, they have both gained the necessary experience and achieved a decisive balance of power thanks to their vigorous protests.
They have come to realize that they will not be able to achieve their demands and enjoy a life worthy of human beings in a scattered and separate way.
On Saturday, August 1, the workers of the mentioned centers entered a new and powerful stage that has been paved for many years by workers, teachers, nurses, retirees and students. As a result, in these circumstances, it is necessary for the workers of all production and service centers to join the general and nationwide strikes.
The only way to get rid of poverty, deprivation, five times the wage below the poverty line, overdue wages and the general hardships of the workers, is what the workers of these centers undertook.
A general strike is the only way.
Long live nationwide unity and solidarity
August 3, 2020
1- Iranian Retirees Union
2- Kermanshah Electricity and Metal Workers Association
3- Alborz Painters Syndicate
4- Iranian Pensioners Council
5- Workers’ Solidarity Council
6- Social Security Retirees Dialogue Center
7- Follow-up committee for establishing trade unions
8- 19 Esfand Teachers and workers group
9- A group of Saqez labor activists
10- A group of child labor abolition activists
11- Organization for Piranshahr children
12- Independent organization of leading students of Isfahan University
13- Students of Najafabad Azad University of Isfahan
14. A group of art students from Tehran universities
Translation of this post by Sahar.