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Saturday, July 2, 2022

“Either Death or Life!” – Protests, Strikes, Crackdown

Shopkeepers strike and retirees protests continueIslamic Republic...

Workers Strikes – Letter from “Detention” Center of Asaluyeh Workers

Asaluyeh is literally a concentration camp. It is more like a detention center. We live in dormitories with narrow corridors and damp, dark rooms that have to be lit even during the day.

A year ago, on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, one of the colleagues of “Imran Roshani-Moghaddam”, a contract worker of “Nazm Afarinan Iman” company in Yadavaran Hoveyzeh oil field, who had committed suicide, described the incident: “This is the story of this young man. Due to the very low salary of the institute, which is not enough even for a week, after a two-month overdue wages, he calls the institute and informs them that he has nothing left to give to his wife and children and is unable to put food on the table. He was faced with ‘we don’t have the money’ response, and unfortunately decided to commit suicide and hanged himself on oil well (F19).”

Today, a year after the tragic death of Imran Roshani-Moghaddam, the Council for Organizing Protests of Contract Oil Workers published a report submitted by Asaluyeh workers, which depicts a fraction of injustice at work and their inhumane working conditions. Reading these lines will help us understand the reasons and background to the nationwide workers’ strike, which has been going on for more than a week and is getting wider and stronger every day.

Asaluyeh workers write:

“In addition to the pressure of hard work, in addition to being away from family and deprivation of seeing our children and their childish games, in addition to the pressure of poverty and constant worry about meeting our basic life needs, the deplorable living conditions in Asaluyeh have exacerbated our physical and mental exhaustion.

Asaluyeh is literally a concentration camp. It is more like a detention center. We live in dormitories with narrow corridors and damp, dark rooms that have to be lit even during the day. Rooms that often have no windows and you should be lucky enough to live in a room with a very small window close to the ceiling.

We live in 10square-meter-rooms with 9 people living in each. On the floor, the rooms have a thin, dirty carpet that injures the soles of the feet when you walk on it, and we all sleep on the floor to rest. The space is so small that we have to hang our things on the wall. We only have three very dirty toilets and bathrooms where there’s not even enough handwashing soap and we have to use dishwashing powder to wash our hands. There is no cafeteria in our habitat. The food is brought to the camp, and we all line up and take food in plastic and eat it in our rooms. The quality of the food is awful. Breakfast is usually a cheese and a very small piece of butter. The rice during lunch is served with beans or lentils and only one day with chicken, which is very small in size and not filling. Dinner is a potato and an egg, or low-quality pasta and generally everything is on the same level.

And this is a fraction of the hellish life of us, contract oil workers in Asaluyeh. There is not even a pharmacy in our area and only one hospital in the center of Asaluyeh, so if there is a problem, we have to call a taxi, which will arrive in hours to take us to the doctor. Now add to these living conditions the deadly heat of summer, then you will know what is happening to us workers. It is interesting that if the temperature is higher than 57 degrees Celsius, according to the law, the work should be stopped. But in this case, too, they cheat, and while the car thermometer shows the heat at 55, the meteorologist announces the temperature in Asaluyeh as much as in Tehran.”

Council for Organizing Protests by Contract Oil Workers – June 30, 2021


Translation of this post by Sahar.

Arezou Saaberi
Arezou Saaberi
There comes a time in life when you have to choose whether to turn the page or to close the book!

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